The Presets, ‘Ghost’ – Song Review
“When singer-keyboardist Julian [Hamilton] played me his initial sketch of this song it utterly blew my mind, “ Presets drummer-keyboardist Kim Moyes says of tune ‘Ghosts’ off the Sydney, Australia-based electronica duo’s forthcoming album, ‘Pacifica’ (out this September). “Taking a classic folk-style sea shanty and adding it to an up-tempo techno groove was just genius to my ears.”
We’ll be honest, we weren’t exactly won over by the idea of “a classic folk-style sea shanty” mixed with an “up-tempo techno groove” — in fact, on paper that sounds like a terrible idea — but somehow the tune ‘Ghosts’ actually works. First, the shanty is certainly a catchy little jig, sounding both vintage nautical and totally contemporary. It sucks you in with its melody the first time you hear it, and before you’re halfway through, you’re humming along. The second time you’re trying to catch all the lyrics, and the third time around you can even lead the charge.
But before you start to think of the Presets as That Sea Shanty Band, your memory gradually drifts back to their past work. Casual fans familiar with them are most likely to recognize ‘If I Know You’ or ‘This Boy’s in Love,’ both cuts from the 2008 album ‘Apocalypso’ that charted in the Top 25 of the U.S. dance charts. Neither tune brings to mind sailors, salt water or anything else associated with the ocean, and we’re pretty sure nothing else on ‘Pacifica’ does either, despite the ocean-themed title.
Which is all the more reason to dig ‘Ghosts.’ It may be an odd choice as a single ahead of the full album’s release, but it’s also a good one because it makes us curious to hear what comes next. That is, as long as a walk down the plank isn’t required: Another sea shanty would be overkill.
Listen to the Presets, ‘Ghosts’