Holiday Ghosts bring their distinctive brand of observational pop to a couple of Northern venues as they support Penelope Isles. Having released their third album North Street Air earlier this year, the Cornish band will play Gullivers, Manchester on Friday 26 November and St Mary’s, Chester on Saturday 27 November.
Featuring drummer Katja Rackin, guitarist Sam Stacpoole, and Ryan Cleave (bass) along with returning bandmate Charlie Murphy (guitar), Holiday Ghosts tap into a heritage of classic UK songsmiths. The influence of The Kinks, Violent Femmes, Alex Chilton and Modern Lovers is evident as they deconstruct myriad social issues. Themes of breaking out of moulds and expectations whilst addressing displacement, disillusionment and living in the midst of heavy advertising and commercial landscapes, thread their way through their latest album.
Nowhere else on North Street Air is the weight of capitalism on creative cultures more directly assessed than on recent single Mr. Herandi, a song about their landlord.
“I was introduced to issues of social inequality at a really young age,” says Katja Rackin, “because my parents were political refugees and got me involved in debates and conversations that allowed me to question my surroundings and society. Outside of music I do a lot of writing in response to current social issues. I think my music does this in a more inward sense, it is often rooted in metaphorical themes of deconstructing pre-conceived ideas and naturally becomes a way for me to place myself within the surroundings that I’m so often critiquing.”
“This song started out as a joke folky country song I wrote almost on the spot,” adds Sam Stacpool, “just looping the chords and commenting on ways it felt like an unfair deal with our landlord/tenant situation. The landlord is taking the stance of being completely oblivious to the standards of what he’s paid large sums monthly for whilst living abroad.
“All the lines are directly factual to the situation we were in at that point – and his name really is Mr Herandi! We also recorded it in his house which was directly above his letting agents.”
Elsewhere, North Street Air includes tales of steady jobs, wrong turns, short straws, sunny moods and city life as Katja and Sam share lead vocals. Talking about their inspiration for the latest album, Katja says: “North Street is the busiest and most polluted feeling street in Brighton – and for six months that’s where we lived. Having the city centre at your doorstep provides so many bizarre experiences and scenarios, so many weird and interesting people, continuous noise and crowds.”
Katja and Sam have been grafting and honing alone, away from the expertise of music producers and other governors since 2016. The result is unadulterated and unclean, unabashed and uncompromised. After two albums Holiday Ghosts (2017) and West Bay Playroom (2019) Holiday Ghosts have signed to FatCat Records to release North Street Air.