Album Review: Ghost Legs – “You Have Been Found”

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m a sucker for a hook. I like my music fast and hard, sure, but generally the catchier it is, the more I dig it. Is there such a thing as too catchy? Of course. To that end there’s also such a thing as not catchy enough, and Ghost Legs’ brand of old school hardcore, ten songs of blistering muscle music sprayed at your earlobes in thirteen minutes, is the kind of hardcore I find it hard to get into.

The music itself has some melodic dips and turns to it and the song ‘Don’t Trust This Man’ even starts off sounding a little bit skate punkish before sliding into H2O territory, before sliding back into the one note chorus’ that punctuate the rest of the record. Overtop of the music, the vocals are delivered with a monotone scream that changes so little over the album length that a blanket of blandness descends on the whole shebang and becomes stifling pretty quickly. Which may be the point, I don’t know. This brand of hardcore has always seemed geared towards punishing the listener to an extent, making them pay for pressing play. Which is fine, just give me something to tap my toes to. While I’ve never even remotely been a fan of emo/screamo, I always felt that the band Alexisonfire would’ve been so much better without that dude screaming his ass off in the background. Fans of the band would probably consider this a blasphemous sentiment though.

There would be those that would argue that if hardcore becomes too catchy, it transforms itself into oi!/street punk music. Which is a fair point, but that still doesn’t mean you can’t have more than one note in your vocal delivery. The Germs’ best song, ‘Lexicon Devil’ was also their catchiest.

‘You Have Been Found’ isn’t a complete turkey though. The music is often interesting and even impressive in spots, particularly on the songs ‘For the Burbs’ and ‘War Effort.’

Lyrically, this record is filled with the kind of pissed off, tough guy exclamations that, along with the music, would have helped this band excel in the L.A. hardcore scene in the 80’s. The one towards the end of the decade when it started to become dangerous to go to shows. And if you did have any trouble picking up on the fact that these dudes are angry, ‘Fault’ should clear things up for you, as any song with a chorus of ‘it’s all your fault’ screamed at the top of a pair of lungs that sound like they’re about to collapse would.

I don’t know how strong the old school hardcore scene is in Florida, where Ghost Legs are from, but I have no doubt they have, or will find, a loyal following there. I know there are many out there who love this kind of brutal, old time thrash and still dress up in their Doc Martins and skinny red suspenders go out to shows and try and flatten people. I see them there all the time. And for that crowd ‘You Have Been Found’ may be something they’ll want to check out. For people like me, who have a sweet tooth for a little pop in our punk (not too much though, lest we get a toothache), they’ll want to stick with hardcore that veers on the side of the more melodic. That and Katy Perry of course. I also enjoy kissing girls.

2/5 Stars

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