Living as Ghosts With Buildings As Teeth is one of those rare album titles that you can spend considerable time alone trying to work out what it actually means. Do we exist purely as ghosts while industry, technology and greed consume us all? LaGwBaT is littered with thought provoking lyrical content that is so incredibly abstract that you can almost paint your own picture with them. Nothing is gift wrapped on a platter for you, it makes you take that next step and consider the alternatives. That is what the industry needs more of; Rishloo care for their art, and they are passionate, brave and ambitious here.
The structure of the songs on LaGwBaT are non traditional, as there are no choruses or easily distinguishable verses; for that matter, things move in a very linear format and each track starts and ends in a completely different space. Take for instance album opener ‘The Great Rain Battle’ which starts off rather frantic with heaps of energy and fast staccato type opening with Andrew beginning with “Fuck, what have you done?”. With momentum shifts, instrumental twists and turns, and unpredictable vocal delivery only to become almost possessed as the track winds down, this is a must-listen.
Centrepiece ‘Dark Charade’ is a dead set masterpiece and the best thing Rishloo have ever put their name to. It is an emotional slow building number that has so many highlights in 10 minutes that its worth the price of admission alone, possessing the ability to release goosebumps in several sections. ‘Salutations’ is a change in pace for Rishloo, delivered in an almost balladry format, seemingly depicting a tale of what technology has become and how it has affected relationships. ‘Winslow’ is another album highlight with guitarist David Gillett front and centre, there is some amazing work at play here, at times reminiscent of Omar Rodríguez-López, with a ripping outro rounding out the track before album closer ‘Just a Ride’ takes the listener on a contemplative, pensive departure.
The vocals naturally receive the most attention throughout the album as they are strong, but not in the sense that they are aggressive or bold; they are delivered with authenticity and confidence, perfectly complimenting the rest of the band at each and every moment. On previous releases Rishloo have been often criticised for relying too heavily on the vocal performances in the mix, however there are plenty of moments here where each band member has their chance to shine. The production has been managed perfectly here; it gives the album a feeling of authenticity and purity, feeling much more like a ‘real’ sounding record.
A lot of progressive rock and and metal bands will cloud their songwriting abilities with an over emphasis on artificial sounds and cheap gimmicks to create atmosphere, emotion and feeling. What is important to note here is that other than a few samples on ‘The Great Rain Battle’ every sound here is made through guitars, bass, drums and vocals. What is equally impressive is that Rishloo are an independent band sourcing the funds for this release through Kickstarter and their own pockets.
Rishloo released one of the finest albums of 2014, hands down, genres aside. LaGwBaT is an album that will draw you in, allow you to feel, think, and get lost in.
01. The Great Rain Battle
03. Dead Rope Machine
04. Dark Charade
08. Just a Ride