[T167] ‘To Repel Ghosts’

Released on: Lifeblood (Album #7), Sony Records, 1 November 2004
Track: 6

The excellent ‘To Repel Ghosts’ is just possibly the crowning achievement of the Lifeblood album. The song is surely the most exciting recording on an album primarily comprised of quite gentle songs – indeed, it features one of the more thrilling sections the Manics had recorded in years – but in style it is still absolutely of a part with the rest of the LP.

Progressing at a much faster pace than many Lifeblood tracks, the song benefits hugely from a rapid, complex drum track which underpins the walls of guitar and synthesizer. The recording still contains a huge amount of studio space, retaining the clinical, icy feel of the album as a whole – but the greater intensity of the instrumentation sets off the whole track. As a result, the song can seem to breeze by despite its almost four-minute length: an indication of how totally engaging ‘To Repel Ghosts’ is.

The build-up to the final chorus is nothing short of sublime. After slowing right down to bask in that ocean of space in the mix, the band accelerate suddenly, building to an epic crescendo under Bradfield’s wordless, yearning vocals. It is the singular strongest moment on Lifeblood and provides a tremendous sense of release. This aspect of the song, in addition to the lyrics, causes it to feel even more like a counterpart to the pent-up tension of [A164] ‘Empty Souls’. Simply a terrific recording, which sadly was barely ever played live.

Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“build bridges and not roads”

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One response to “[T167] ‘To Repel Ghosts’

  1. Yep, the build up to the final chorus gets to me every single time. I love James’ vocal tone on this, a bit of vulnerabity to it, but still his usual absolutely engaging style. My most played track on Lifeblood.

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