Phantom Rhythm

Gong Gong Gong

Wharf Cat Records, 2019

http://gonggonggong.bandcamp.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/26/2019

Though Gong Gong Gong (the Beijing duo of Tom Ng and Joshua Frank) is just a bass and guitar, the pair draws from influences wide and far for a debut album that doesn't sit in one place very long – and even if it did, most of us wouldn't recognize where it is anyway. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“The Last Note” starts the listen with five minutes of guitar acrobatics where psychedelic and prog-rock ideas are in attendance, though never in the traditional sense. “Notes Underground” continues the mood of dueling guitar and bass, as vocals enter late in the rhythmic tune.

Elsewhere, “Ride Your Horse” does gallop with plenty of rugged country Western spirit as the bass is highlighted well, while “Moonshadows” moves and shakes with playful time signatures that comes with a retro feel.

The back half of the record offers the hypnotic and cautious “Gong Gong Gong Blues III,” and “Wei Wei Wei” also triples the fun with some of the most singing on the clever, fuzzy punk tune. Deeper cuts brings us the dark “Some Kind Of Demon,” which finds Ng getting vocally more forceful (he sings in Cantonese on the album), and “Sound Of Love” exits the listen experimental and jagged with an aberrant version of noise-rock.

This release that sounds like it could be from anywhere on the globe. Frank is originally from Montreal, while Ng is native to Hong Kong, and they bring a wealth of influences that make us wonder if Gong Gong Gong is post-punk, art-rock, garage rock, or West African music. Truth is, it's all of those things plus jazz, blues, surf, and countless other ideas.

You really have to give a hand to the Brooklyn Label Wharf Cat Records. They are consistently finding innovative and underappreciated talent like Gong Gong Gong and giving them a home where we all get to experience their artistic and unconventional vision.

Rating: A-

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