Label: Sugarbeet Stallion Release date: 19/10/09 Website: Official Website, MySpace From the opening song on The Raudive's new album Ghost Box, it is full, to the brim, with Sonic Youth influence. A fade in from distorted amp noise starts ‘Warning’, before lo-fi guitar chords and a second guitar’s quiet thrumming emerge, soft and simply done, but appealing. Finally, chords and an Editors-esque vocal line burst forth, in the same way as fast guitar-strumming and serious vocals burst forth in Sonic Youth’s ‘Hey Joni’, Sonic Youth’s ‘Master-Dik, and Sonic Youth’s ‘100%’. And voila, the first band name in the Cambridge band’s MySpace influences box is ‘Sonic Youth’. There is nothing wrong with taking cues from a very influential and successful band – not many indie and rock bands have avoided being influenced by Sonic Youth. However, it means that there are a lot of bands who sound similar to The Raudive, and there’s always a feeling that it’s not quite as good as its predecessors. It is good music though, technically well thought-out, well-played and most of the time, sustaining interest, if not exactly ‘catchy’. I doubt they would want to be dismissed as catchy anyway. Moving on, second track Margins is again quite sombre in tone, reminding me in tempo, guitar interplay and atmosphere, of ‘Tom Violence’, by…Sonic Youth. ‘I’m Control’ is a little more upbeat, with more of a sing-along chorus and Idlewild tone to it. By ‘Under the Willows’, the style is getting a little repetitive, though the lyrics of that track stand out as more poignant than on the other tracks. The fifth, and second-last, track ‘For the Crows’ is probably my favourite, with enticing suspensions in intense chord sequences, and more interesting drum rhythms going on. ‘Torch Song’ is slower, (though the tempos on the album are much of a muchness to be honest), and it really reminds me of The Editors, which may or may not be a good thing: I can’t decide. Even if you didn’t know the band named themselves after the parapsychologist Konstantin Raudive, share interests in the ‘experimental’, and use perfect grammar and punctuation on their MySpace page, you could tell from Ghost Box that The Raudive are serious about their music. This isn’t a bad thing, and most of the songs on the mini-album sound considered and thoughtful. The production is nice and lo-fi, without being detrimental to the musical quality of the album: there are no clashing missed notes, and the sound is only raw and distorted when it's listenable (and appealing) that way. The two guitars and echoing background noises provide enough texture for the songs to remain interesting throughout. So, I like this album, despite all its seriousness and somewhat repetitive tone. I think that a little more expression of the band’s interest in experimental would have gone a long way, and perhaps trying to find a more individual sound somehow – changing the tone of the guitars away from Sonic Youth’s signature jangle, or the introduction of some unusual instruments, perhaps. Whatever happens, when The Raudive find a sound, I have no doubt they will come out with some attractive music. Rating: 7/10