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ghostandwriter redflags
Artist: Ghost & Writer
Title: Red Flags
Genre: Electronic
Release Date: 5th April 2013
Label: Dependent Records

Album Review

Since we've visited the remnants of a broken mind on roads of abstract words on 'Shipwrecks', not so much time has passed until GHOST & WRITER raise the 'Red Flags' sending us a new letter from hell. A red flag is ought to alarm you, to point out a danger, advice you to turn around. Of course, you'd have to recognize it as such. Otherwise you're going to find yourself on a road leading straight into oblivion, just as the protagonist on our first, speedy adventure 'Just The Same' does. With quite an aggressive stance, the rhythm pulses forward, knowing no bounds while a soothing, almost uplifting lead is echoing throughout its space. 'Hurricane' is the realization that everyone's making mistakes and ideally learns the lesson. Just sometimes it is as though there's a pattern imprinted into the genetic fabric that doesn't allow that particular person to see things or people for what they are. The result is shattering. Maybe one can overcome those patterns having experienced too much emotional disruption one day. The musical backdrop to this is awfully club-compatible with its crunchy beat, though it is still doubtful if it ever will be on heavy rotation... Sadly enough.

So I suppose many of you have at least downloaded the free give-away that is 'Never Take Fire', the first moodier track on the album turns our focus inwards to see a person at the brink of madness over the fact that there's seemingly no other way out of isolation than dropping any rest of principles that have been so dear once. I can relate to that, really. It is a very dark place to be where you try to cling to the tiniest straw to get what you have envisioned for so long. Only sometimes straws break apart and what's left is utter desperation. We're revisiting an old friend now with 'Gambit' (Not the comic book character). Compared to the album version, the first glimpse we got to hear was rather a polished affair. This is much more angular and rough and I like it this way much more. I've got no confirmation for the following thesis, but the characteristics of the chess opening may have been very well adapted for the music. I mean, both of the two sides are gaining an advantage from getting together. Whether there's a hideous intent or not is never clearly revealed.

Dark clouds unfold in the sky upon reaching 'Shine', where there's no light shining through and even in this space, you can see shadows rising and sucking last bits of hope in. A sense of hopelessness descends like a veil on everything that is not even lifted when the song takes a little turn towards the chorus. It feels lighter yet somehow it's not. An emergency call, a last attempt to reach out but no one picks up because everybody knows you're far 'Beyond Repair' and every next try is another failure, and happiness lives up only for a short moment in your soul. A victim of modern civilization where the ego is the greatest good. There's a cold breeze leaking through the edgy rhythm's cracks as if to reflect the estrangement and the distance. Doubts are a natural thing. When doubts become everything there is it's getting dangerous. 'Demons Crawl' put them at the centre. They're like the devil on your shoulder, can you overcome them, or are you running with the easy way of giving in because fighting is too much of an exhaustion to you. That's the big question mark hanging in the air, isn't it. Apart from being a very dancy affair, this track's strength lies in the way it is using as little melody as possible and therefore emphasize the vocals' intensity.

The last act has come ladies and gentlemen with '(Do I Have) Your Word'. Minimal beats bubble underneath a menacing sphere of synth lines. Amidst the brooding a voice is sounding, taking us to a point of disenchantment in their live. A point that is downright terrifying, obviously. When all the drugs wear off and the fairy dust are gone, you either live with what the stark reality presents to you or you end it straight ahead. The citation of a part of Johann Strauß' operetta 'Die Fledermaus' (The Bat) points you in an interesting direction. It is left unclear whether the protagonist is in a state of agony due to its inability to cope, or if it's much more like a deprivation followed by a rebirth that we can only keep guessing about.

Guess what, we're still not done. We've just been reaching the second chapter which is the remix department. We're kicking things off with the IRIS version of 'Just The Same' where they're taking the speed but not the aggression off the track by adding a taut beat work With a little more massive beat, the SPLITTER edit of 'Hurricane' could very well be the club version getting on heavy rotation. The mysterious secret rework of 'Never Take Fire' injects a great doze of ambient while at the same time straightening its foundation. Almost like a sophisticated electro pop track. Long-time no hear from AKANOID who turn 'Gambit' into an organic affair with a slight indie influence. In case you thought that the original was dark, it's getting pitch-black and creepy now on the ACRETONGUE take on 'Shine. Really didn't expect this would be possible at all. DISKONNEKTED regrouped, removed and replaced elements of 'Beyond Repair' so that a genuine and clean dance track would be the result and it’s a natural fit for the song. I was very curious to hear what DEAD WHEN I FOUND HER did with the given track, and I have to say: Awesome. Reworked to a modern classic electro(industrial track that is leaving the actual chorus out and focuses on the bridge instead. Like a new song!

I guess the biggest surprise for any listener waits at the very end of the record with '(Do I Have) Your Word' in a special 1920s rework that is at once irritating and ingenious because you don't see it coming. You'll be in for a surprise. Promised. That we could apply on the entire album which does a balancing act on the edge, for it is nearly impossible to create an album that has on the one hand has electro pop appeal and at the same time reaches deep into the dark. The fact that this combination works out at all is reason enough to regard 'Red Flags' highly.


01. Just The Same - 4:36
02. Hurricane - 3:22
03. Never Take Fire - 4:45
04. Gambit - 4:24
05. Shine - 4:49
06. Beyond Repair - 4:38
07. Demons Crawl - 3:39
08. (Do I Have) Your Word - 4:27
09. Just The Same (Iris) - 4:19
10. Hurricane (Splitter) - 5:05
11. Never Take Fire (Secret) - 7:02
12. Gambit (Akanoid) - 4:10
13. Shine (Acretongue) - 4:44
14. Beyond Repair (Diskonnekted) - 6:01
15. Demons Crawl (Dead When I Found Her) - 5:19
16. (Do I Have) Your Word (Titanic Moon) - 1:47


Frank Spinath
Jimmyjoe Snark III

Website /

Cover Picture

ghostandwriter redflags


Music: 9
Sound: 9
Extras: -
Total: 9 / 10

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