Great Sounds Great; Bad Sounds Bad: Ghost Wave “Sunsetter”

Every week, a panel of writers for The Corner will focus on a bunch of recently released local singles and grade them. We call it Great Sounds Great; Bad Sounds Bad. We might have borrowed this idea from but we love that site and we hope that you like this.

[YouTube / Bandcamp]

[Grade: 5.4]

Stevie Kaye: This is just kind’ve … there, I guess? Boilerplate Arch Hill in their little-league-for-Flying-Nun-devotees mode, with yr inescapable post-Anco/chillwave haze unleavened by e.g. Surf City’s productive cognitive dissonance between sound and personnel. Nice (“such nice boys”), but I’d get the same effect as someone playing a late-period Clean album in my living room while I take a shower. [3]

Maryann Savage: I don’t know. What can I say about this?  Obviously it’s a bit like Snapper, like Dimmer, like the Clean, maybe tending towards Bike.  It’s not evil. The opening is like ‘Let’s Dance’.  I reckon they should go with that.  Be more grandiose and ridiculous.  Also, can I just say, who cares about drugs? [6]

Michael McClelland: There are obvious comparisons to Surf City and The Clean which aren’t helped at all by Ghost Wave recently signing to the same label as both of these bands. The quality of a song shouldn’t always be defined (or denied) by its influences, though, as it can be somewhat unfair to the differences that do exist. Unfortunately, there are some pretty damn strong resemblances here. The song itself is very cool with some sparkly production, though, which shows that their promise owes more to a good, punchy rhythm section than their influences. [7]

Kim Gruschow: They have created an agreeable example of New Zealand indie-rock. It isn’t unpleasant nor is it exciting. ‘Hippy’ is a more interesting, fun song by this drums/guitar/bass/vocals boy-band. ‘Sunsetter’ is kinda boring and certainly not innovative. [4]

Phyllis Gabor: Oh man this song is sooo good.This song sounds like the good side (not the Oasis side) of the Brit rock boom in the mid 90’s. Kinda part Stone Roses-ish, part the coagulated sound of the good stuff on the C86 NME comp – pretty sweet combo. Vid/song harmony is spot on and puts me on the perfect light buzz, pretty much like a Ghost Wave. Can’t wait to hear more from these guys. [8]

Luke Warm: I happened to see this band live recently and barely noticed. Hearing a studio recording now, it makes a bit more sense but I remain unmoved by it. Most of those Arch Hill Records bands just sound like Clean wannabes to me. [1]

Julie Petsounds: This song is sooooooo Arch Hill. And it’s fresh and it’s very ‘New Zealand’ sounding. I mean, maybe it’s because I’m on flu drugs, but it makes me sparkle on the inside. I wanna eat butterflies while listening to this song. Hopefully they are more reliable than Surf City. [7]

Hussein Moses: Another Arch Hill band preoccupied with the Kilgour bro’s & co., so much so that I almost couldn’t tell what year it was. It’s decent enough though: slickly produced noise-pop that resembles some of that aforementioned bands strong points. What we’re missing is something unique, and depending how far these guys want to go, it could be a problem. Here’s hoping they develop enough that it won’t be the case. [6]

Chris Cudby: There’s lots to like about this song/video – Ghost Wave take on jingle-jangle guitars in a breezily assured shoegaze/dream-pop manner that feels totally fresh for this moment. ‘Sunsetter’ is reminiscent of early 90’s Flying Nun groups without seeming slavishly devotional, nodding towards paisley pop, Manchester baggy and 60’s ur-psychedelia (duh). The first line is a neat hook, as is the mind-expanding chorus. The video is fucking rad (although they could have pushed the trippiness factor a little) – an intersection of contemporary lo-tech digital production with early nineties video/bluescreen aesthetics, conjuring right-on vibes. Wellington’s The Golden Awesome may currently have the edge on local, blazed shoegaze (check this out), but Ghost Wave aren’t far off. A pleasant surprise. [7]


  1. blazed shoegaze says:

    I like it.

    • Philly G says:

      i feel u…
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      —.| |./| /|.—/
      –.| |./| /|.–/
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      _ -_^_^_^_- \ // / -_^_^_^_- _
      – -/_/_/- ^ ^ | ^ ^ -__- –

  2. Julie Petsounds says:

    Arch Hill is the new Flying Nun. Or Flying Nun wannabe???

  3. massiveoasisfan says:

    Oasis rule, have u guys not heard the song Supersonic. That song owns!

  4. Renegade Room says:

    this is sweet!

  5. Michael McClelland says:

    loving “blazed shoegaze”

  6. From where I stand the song is great and the video is great. I think maybe only Phyllis and Chris actually gave a fair analysis here of what I hear in Ghost Wave. Though I appreciate the similarities to the Clean, surely anyone with more than a really limited knowledge of late 80s/early 90s British music (Spacemen 3, the aforementioned Stone Roses) and 60s psychadelica (the Byrds, Love) could at least note these elements in the band. I mean come on Luke, 1? Thats a fine line between objective criticism and dismissive bitchiness.

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