written by Chris Familton
Warp Records continue their foray into non-electronic acts with this debut release from Brooklyn natives My Best Fiend. In Ghostlike Fading may be made by a bunch of Americans but it has a decidedly English sound and mood. The songs swell and churn, wander and slow-burn with winding narratives that make the album feel a lot longer than its 47 minutes.
It opens with the psychedelic swirl of Higher Palms, all dark and moody and a pretty good introduction to where the rest of the record heads. Jesus Christ is close to a sonic photocopy of Spiritualized, one of the most prominent comparisons that My Best Fiend conjure up. The pseudo gospel harmonies and religious iconography give the song a nice dramatic feel but too contrived to make one a true believer. Where things get more interesting is when the band loosens their grip on trying to sound like one thing and they let the music find its own course. Odvip and Cracking Eggs are examples of a band showing their full capabilities with string-assisted beginnings, slow builds and then some cracking guitar histrionics that call to mind The Verve, the best of Oasis and some of the more energetic post rock bands. When they settle back into one way dirges it all sounds very nice and ‘in touch with your emotions’ but there too few moments both lyrically and emotionally to maintain attention across whole songs.
I suspect that My Best Fiend would make a lot more sense live, with suitably mind altering lights and enveloping volume to make it a full body experience rather than just a listening one. There are many impressive moments on In Ghostlike Fading but too much of it feels like a hypnotist who can’t quite manage to alter the psychic state of his patients.
this review was first published in The Drum Media