Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
The sinister feeds on emotion just as much as much as the beautiful, the menacing is able to stir sentiment just as passionately as the charming and pleasing on the eye; it is why stories such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein have endured across time, the sinister gets under the skin and feasts upon the wary and the obliging, into both spectrums we all fall. Whether it is for A Ghost, A Beast or any manner of ominous creature of the dark, we all embrace its probing fingers and wish for the animalistic to devour us.
Edinburgh’s Zed Penguin’s debut album A Ghost, A Beast has that embrace throughout its tight and well protected sleeves, its flesh covering the initial beauty of the idea that comes mysteriously out of the ether and as the band have painstakingly made clear. It is an album that focuses the mind of the listener on just how a narrative finds its way out of the darkness and sinks its teeth into the soul, refusing to let go until you are consumed by its desire or you face up to it, hold it close and take huge chunks out of it, become the ogre on show, become the specimen for all to see and revel in its own reveal.
The sense of brooding is not confined to the underbelly of old Edinburgh society, the darkness of its walkways, desperation and violence walking hand in hand within the shadow of the blotted out sun; it is one that is captured with a sharp rising intensity by Zed Penguin and the acknowledgement that the beast takes all forms, sometimes with authority, sometimes with a helping hand and sometimes out of cruelty.
In songs such as The Source Of My Dreams, Violent Night, Ribbons of Light (Hold Ya Heart High) and the album’s title track A Ghost, A Beast, Zed Penguin make the most of the pain that has been and turn in to a sense of beauty; after all what is Dracula without his desire for Mina Harker, what is the bodysnatcher without the medical science behind it? The ghoul, the ghost, the innocence of the idea, for art to succeed it requires feeding and the beast is ever hungry.
To feed the beast is to know that the ghost is your dream made real, without it life means nothing; a superbly envisaged debut, A Ghost, A Beast is what we all secretly strive for.
Zed Penguin’s A Ghost, A Beast is released on February 23rd
Ian D. Hall