Extended Play Review – Ghost – Popestar (2016)

Availability: YouTube (full album stream), and Spotify

*Popestar, an extended play filled with covers of post-punk bands Echo & The Bunnymen and Imperiet; electro-house duo Simian Mobile Disco, new-wave duo  Eurythmics and one original song, has been included on the deluxe edition of Meliora, on disc two, which was originally released on 21st August 2015.


Square Hammer, the opening track is a direct continuation of the conceptual album Meliora, which from the album art and supplementary music videos takes place in a fictional city inspired by Metropolis (1927). Not only is the song connected to the world of the previous album, but musically as well. It is more psychedelic rock than doom metal, the first of this genre to feature on the EP and is lyrically buoyant. Nocturnal Me, from Ocean Rain (1984), is an exotic union of Italian folk music and post-punk, telling a romantic story of embracing one’s darkness, troubled past and the love of the night. The cover, though it samples the Italian folk entrée, turns the song on its head to arise into doom metal; however the lyrical delivery of vulnerability and sadness presented by Ian McCulloch, is still present by Papa Emeritus III (Tobias Forge of Subdivision).

I Believe, from Simian Mobile Disco’s Attack Decay Sustain Release (2007), was an electro-house track with lo-fi, new wave and glitch influence, and gets transformed into a beautiful psychedelic/pop rock song, filled with yearning. Missionary Man, from Revenge (1980) was lyrically written by Annie Lennox, and combined new wave and the sound of Lennox’s later transference to art rock, where she experiments with blues, jazz and country.  The samples at the beginning imply that the setting is somewhere in the early 20th century, performed to a live audience in a bar. Ghost distribute it in their unique sound of psychedelic doom, whilst keeping the country rock feel along with featuring Annie’s soulful belts.

Bible, from Imperiet’s album of the same name (1988) is the last track of the extended play. Whilst the original was shaped to resemble an acoustic country rock/power ballad, and had that roughened edge with a mournful undertone.  Ghost, as they kept the power ballad concept, somehow lessened the impact by turning the song into a soft rock/doom metal mixture. There’s an up-lifting air to it, even though the subject matter is ironically dystopian, maybe to emphasis a hopeful outcome.  

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