Written by Alexa Delgado
Last year, Orange County’s Ghali made their debut onto the California surf-punk scene with their EP, S/t, off Resurrection Records. Wavering somewhere between standard 4/4 punk, lofi psychedelic, and surf rock, S/t manages to successfully capture the essence of classic California garage. It’s 24 minutes of frenetic, dirty songs meant for unapologetically blasting at maximum volume.
“Colors,” the first song off the EP, is a perfect example of how the band effortlessly combines mellow elements of psychedelia with harsh punk rock. It features muffled vocals and a fast, upbeat tempo. Like most of the EP, the lyrics are almost completely indistinct, making the melody, riffs, and ramps the focal point of the song. It’s indubitably raw, yet polished enough for easy listening. “Leaving You,” the next song off S/t, is an Iguanas cover. Ghali transforms this classic 1960’s garage nugget making it faster and seedier. In doing so, it loses some of the sways and rolls of the original, but introduces a new, rough element to the track that compliments the subject matter. As the song title suggests, it’s a song about leaving a lover – and the added roughness makes it seem like the vocalist is singing this song directly to this person. Also noteworthy are “Salvia” and “Love,” filled with insistent guitar solos and clamorous white noise. The eighth and final song, “Ghosts,” is less in-your-face than previous songs, but is nonetheless a natural continuation of the liveliness and energy established throughout the album, just at a slightly more leisurely pace.
Ghali is currently working on a new LP, set to release by the end 2015. You can hear the rest of S/t on their bandcamp.