Be still my heart and fill it with Ghum. The London-based quartet’s first single of the year, “California,” depicts a cold wave which burns to their own present tense of post-punk. Pulling in a variety of influences, such as vocalist Laura Guerrero Lora’s Spanish croon that blesses the track for the first half, and a Gothic romance concept, “California” is a dramatic crawl towards an escape.
In the early stages of writing, Guerrero Lora recalls “California” constantly popping into her head which led the golden word to eventually become the chorus. “I’ve never been there but I see it as a very idealistic place, somewhere to run away and start from zero. A hope for a good ending or a new beginning.”
Guerrero Lora continues, “The song talks about a love story that was condemned to end badly. The hope and love that both had at the beginning is represented by the idea of running away to California, which they planned, but never end up doing. ‘California’ is just an idea that makes them remember the good times they had together and what their lives could have been like.”
The song as a whole warms a darker pallet. Guerrero Lora’s apocalyptic vocals take shape early on, at times painfully building towards each choral burst. Bassist Marina MJ and drummer Vicki Butler conjure a bewitching rhythm, synchronized to the track’s haunt, complementing vocals with each stride. It bleeds with Gothic, grunge, and cold wave influences but is then brought to a more melodic state of post-punk thanks to guitarist and vocalist, Jojo Khor. The track burns with remorse and finds relief through chaotic, distorted notes, executed skillfully by Ghum.
Bruised with omens by its lyrical infrastructure, “California” carves a personalized sound for the band. It’s their own slice of heaven comprised of influences and past haunts for a velvet soundscape. What comes ahead of a slew of tour dates just announced, Ghum is the artist to watch this year.
“California” is now out on all streaming platforms via Everything Sucks Music.
Catch Ghum on Tour:
30 Jan | Elektrowerkz, London
5 Mar | 6 Music Festival, London
28 Mar | Ritual Union, Bristol
25 Apr | Are You Listening? Festival, Reading
3 May | Stag & Dagger, Glasgow
6 Aug | Haldern Pop, Rees-Haldern, DE
7 Aug | CanelaParty, Malaga, ES
Cover photo: Poppy Marriott