London based quartet GHUM have been organically fusing post-punk with grunge for over three years, resulting in dangerously dark pop that is often as hostile as it is haunting. Their ghostly sound has continued to evolve during this time; from the brooding atmosphere of their 2017 self-titled EP, to the raw emotion of their 2018 double A-Side single: ‘I’m The Storm / Undone’.
After numerous musical endeavours across England, Spain, and Brazil, vocalist Laura Guerrero Lora, bassist Marina MJ, drummer Vicki Butler, and guitarist/vocalist Jojo Khor formed GHUM through a shared love of The Cure and PJ Harvey. Yet, despite their similar interests in alt/gothic rock, each member of the band is a distinctive personality – the band as a whole being self-described as a mix of “passion, anger, logic, precision, timidness, volume and emotion, all at the same time.” Their upcoming EP, The Coldest Fire, is the band sharpening the edge of their knife – an ever evolving, always mysterious, brutally honest sound, that perfectly encapsulates all these elements.
Opening track ‘Saturn’ was the first song to be recorded, and it is immediately apparent that GHUM are not afraid to explore darker territories. The combination of Vicki’s technical drum strikes, Marina’s rhythmic basslines, Jojo’s expansive, borderline psychedelic guitar, and Laura’s mesmerising vocals are reminiscent of early Warpaint. ‘Saturn’ is an atmospheric track with dark pop sensibilities that completely immerses the listener throughout.
‘Get Up’ introduces itself with a bewitching, dark bassline that propels the scuzzy, whirring guitar riffs and rumbling beats that follow to a climax of anger and isolation. Echoing the track’s title, Laura’s determined, ardent voice bellows out the hauntingly anthemic, indignant chorus with such fierce emotion – and a delicate use of Spanish – that you will soon find yourself brooding on the dancefloor. “What I felt is what you feel / Tu me lo hiciste una vez [You did it to me once] / Now I want to see your tears…”
Halfway through The Coldest Fire, and no less hostile than the previous two tracks, ‘1000 Men’ is a textured guitarscape of abrasive, crushing rhythms and piercing bass. The vocals leading the melody move gradually through grunge to an eerie finale that left me with chills down my spine – “A thousand men can’t keep me safe.”
By the closing track, ‘In My Head’, I was left reflecting upon the whole sombre experience of The Coldest Fire; an intense four-track extended play about unpredictable love. The band themselves have described The Coldest Fire as “a re-introduction to GHUM,” and I’m inclined to agree. The EP displays the confidence of a band expanding, but not compromising on their grunge/pop sound or post-punk identity.
The Coldest Fire is out on 28th June on Everything Sucks Music. Pre-order via Bandcamp now. And catch GHUM live at the EP launch at The Shacklewell Arms on 13th July.