Album: The Ghost List

Artist: Girls Against Boys

Label: Epitonic

Release Date: September 24, 2013

Girls Vs Boys Sept 24


If The Ghost List seems to take up where Girls Against Boys left off, that’s because it does. The five-song EP began with musical sketches that date from just after 2002’s You Can’t Fight What You Can’t See, the D.C.-rooted quartet’s last album. Stripping away some of the embellishment of its late-’90s work, GVSB here returns to its core values: Scott McCloud’s impressionistic lyrics, Mark E. Smith-like delivery and washes of guitar buzz, grounded by Alexis Fleisig’s drumming and the double-bass swagger of Eli Janney (who also adds electronic accents) and Johnny Temple.

GVSB hasn’t been entirely dormant since its last recording, but has toured only infrequently, and mostly in Europe. (McCloud lives in Austria, while the band’s other members are in New York.) Those occasional gigs seem to have been enough to keep the musicians limber and simpatico. The Ghost List never sounds halting or forced, whether the band is strutting in classic form through “Fade Out,” escalating toward its hardcore past for “My Dream” or burrowing into the noisy, moody throb of “Kick.”

That last song is the closest the EP comes to Freak*on*ica, the group’s underrated venture into ’90s dance-club rock, while “What About That” blows a kiss to ’60s pop-rock with a jaunty “whoo-hoo” vocal hook. But those two tunes, the set’s most divergent, fit together just fine on a record whose principal shortcoming is that it runs out of songs before the groove is exhausted.

DOWNLOAD: “What About That,” “My Dream,” “Kick”

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