[sic] Magazine

GHXST – Admire

Good things come to those that wait. Twelve years in, Admire is LA-based doom duo GHXST’s debut LP after a steady stream of killer EPs and singles. And it’s an album of relative restraint, deliberately monotone, one that continues their evolution away from the extreme end of heavy aggression and towards dreamier melancholy. There remains much to Admire, however. Brooding distorto-rock still dominates, blackened blues and slo-mo fuzz setting up the cool AF Shelley X and her magnificent No-Wave vocal time and again. Crushing bass and tremulous reverb simmer throughout, the hazy opener setting down an early marker. Specialists in excoriating desert blues, the atmosphere and tempo are thick like molasses, each track a rewarding trudge over the horizon. Whip-crack drum machine and searching guitar parts come in waves and, simply, we’re drowning.

Admire isn’t all sticks and stones, an emotive track like “Don’t Leave Me Here” wounding from the inside out. The band’s trademark, hard-rocking menace is never far away though, spliced during an a windblown interlude with spoken-word taken from Korean gangster movies that leaves you feeling like you’re staring down the barrel and daring the trigger man in nihilistic fashion.

Skittering around lonely clicks and pulses, the Gothic “Sonores” threatens a wrong turn, while the sexy slow-burn of “Marry The Night” flutters its kohl-lined eyes as its hugs you like a boa constrictor. People pay for this sort of dark delight, but don’t tell your mother. One of the songs of the year, the cinematic “Summerbliss” sneers like a condescending dominatrix too, raining down riffs and shaking the foundations with huge sub-woof damage. Clouds parting after a nuclear winter, the air then clears during the tender closer. A new world order there for exploitation; GHXST tooled up for whatever it holds.

Best track: “Summerbliss”

~Admire is out now.~