Ghostly Kisses – Darkroom

Electronic alt-pop that glows with emotion...

Without sounding too esoteric, when you think about it, music is all about bringing people together. It’s easy to forget this sometimes, whilst we’re living amidst the most saturated time in music making history; the points of connection closer than ever, yet somehow feeling ever further apart. But when projects like Ghostly Kisses’ new album ‘Darkroom’ come along, all hope is not lost. 

The duo comprised of French-Canadians Margaux Sauvé and Louis-Étienne Santais have been making music since 2015. They picked up widespread critical acclaim last year for their album ‘Heaven Wait’, with its ephemeral aura conveying a blissful sense of weightlessness. This time round, things are a little different. With the duo discovering that many of their fans listened to their music whilst going through experiences of heartbreak, grief and pain, they decided to create their ‘Box of Secrets’ project, inviting fans to share anonymous letters on the band’s website which would later be synthesized throughout the album. Frontwoman Margaux Sauvé explains in the press release that she “wanted to live in those themes, those experiences, and to make it a multidimensional conversation.” Its result is spellbinding. 

Ghostly Kisses’ distinct electronic pop sound permeates throughout ‘Darkroom’. From tight electronic drums to atmospheric synths and reverbs, tracks such as ‘Keep It Real’ hark to late 00s Mercury winners The xx, while ‘Crimson’ looks towards producers like Four Tet and Caribou with its more modern electronic feel.

The vocals, however, are on a level of their own. Channeling essences of Elizabeth Fraser from Cocteau Twins, Sauvé’s hushed melodies and mesmeric harmonies float effortlessly among neatly layered electronic arrangements across ‘Darkroom’. As the opening track ‘There’s No More Space’ begins proceedings with symphonic like strings, you can’t help but be captivated as the dreamlike vocals take centre stage. Echoes of Beth Gibbons from Portishead also come through in the pensive, beautifully produced ‘Silver Screen’. 

The anonymous stories from the ‘Box of Secrets’ project come to life in tracks such as ‘Golden Eyes’, revolving around the vulnerability of admitting love for a best friend: “let me know if I can try / to be somebody for you.” Anorexia is also tackled in ‘Lonesome Hero’, a stand-out moment in the album which precisely pinpoints the delicate feelings of loneliness and internal struggle that come with the condition. It’s these moments that allow ‘Darkroom’ to transcend beyond it songs, letting tears flow freely onto its sonic dancefloor and showcasing the album’s ethos in its best light. 

Weaving real-life stories into its microcosm of comfort, ‘Darkroom’ is a pertinent reminder of what music is really all about: bringing people together. 

7/10

Words: Jamie Wilde

-
Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.