Former Ghosts Former GhostsNew Love
The new love invoked by Former Ghosts is an old way of loving. So old that it seems new. It is that way of loving, longing for, and needing someone that if it isn’t satisfied—and usually, even if it is—leads to total isolation. Sadness and grief are absurd, benevolent states compared to the devastated, dilapidated physical sensation caused by the new love, which is tragic, obsessive, and compulsive. It can be understood as a romantic expression raised to the umpteenth power, idealised and long-suffering. “Fleurs”, Former Ghosts’ wonderful first album, is, according to Freddy Ruppert, (leader of this super group, whose members also include Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu and Nika Roza Danilova, alias Zola Jesus, and new member Yasmine Kittles, from Tearist) an album “that rotates around the break-up, and follows the process of the decline of an absolutely unstable relationship in which I was involved.” Only he can say what “New Love” rotates around, but it inspires pain and anxiety, and a chilling loneliness. A new way of loving that is light years from hope, closer to punches in the stomach that leave you nauseated and in a cold sweat.
“New Love” is straightforward and minimalist. Brilliant. Electronic and cold. Sweet and spectacularly danceable. Disturbing in its echoes and empty dirtiness. The spectrum of Joy Division appears in an obvious, beautiful, ever-present form. There’s residual synth-pop and traces of Freddy Ruppert’s adored 4AD groups, especially This Mortal Coil. And most of all, the most Gothic part of the 80’s, which has naturally slightly more of a pop streak than “Fleurs”. Ruppert alternates his cavernous voice with the strange, effeminate sweetness of Stewart in heartrending duets like “I Am Not What You Want” and the chorus of “New Orleans”, or with that of Yasmine Kittles in “Winter's Year”. “Chin Up”, sung by Zola Jesus, is probably the best song on the album. Its verses are the perfect embodiment of this love beyond the grave and carnal absence: “This will bury me (...) Because time never passes for me in the dark. A shadow of your former self there in the light. And oh, the one thing I am good at is wasting my love. I need you right now.” All of the songs on “New Love” are made to be played indecently loudly in eternally adolescent rooms where love and hate are experienced and felt in all their amplified glory. Rooms with windows which only reveal views of autumn and winter. Because the years don’t go by in some rooms, and the seasons don’t pass, although the inhabitants may add decades to their age.
Marta Hurtado de Mendoza