Under Review

Dead Ghosts

Can’t Get No

Burger Records

Stephen White

Fuzzed up, lo-fi, and loud, Vancouver’s garage junkies Dead Ghosts return with their second LP having found a new home at Burger Records.

Some bands know how to chew up a record collection and spit it out in just the right way. On Can’t Get No, as the Stones-inspired title would suggest, Dead Ghosts make no bones about it. Invoking the spirit of the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll, surf, doo-wop, girl-group pop, and psychedelia, a raw enthusiasm burns through each of the 12 tracks. Saluting heroes along the way, from the heartfelt ode to the 13th Floor Elevators’ tragic genius on “Roky Said,” to the tongue-in-cheek salute to Link Wray on explosive instrumental “Tea Swamp Rumble,” a lot of cornerstones of ‘60s garage are touched upon.

The primal urgency of lead singer Bryan Nicol leads the charge with infectious melodies over a raw rockabilly stomp. By turns obnoxious and frustrated (“I Want You Back”), nonchalant (“You Don’t Belong”), heart-wrenching (“I Sleep Alone”) and downright ecstatic (“B.A.D.”) the visceral delivery of the vocals render the fact that the lyrics are largely indecipherable beside the point. The low fidelity nature of the recording captures the energy of a band having too much of a good time to care about such small matters. And the feeling is contagious.

Recorded on an old eight-track tape machine, the key here is in the performances. Relentless freakbeat drums, chunky driving basslines, reverberating distorted guitars and the occasional bursts of boogie-woogie piano and head-trip organ— delivered loud, energetic and ramshackle—drives the wall of sound into the red.

Dead Ghosts don’t attempt to disguise their influences; they embrace their heroes with a cavernous howl on a bed of fuzz and show us a rollicking good time in doing so.