Who: Guitar-and-bass duo Gong Gong Gong are from Beijing’s underground indie scene and Phantom Rhythm is their debut LP.
Sound: Phantom Rhythm is a psychedelic blues jam that also has an energetic jazz and surf background that is sewn together by Cantonese lyrics.
TFN Final Take: A guitar-and-bass duo singing in Cantonese is a combination I would have never put together but Beijing’s Gong Gong Gong have released one of the most unique records this year. Guitarist Tom Ng and bassist Joshua Frank will enchant you from the beginning with the rapid building of sounds in “The Last Note.” You get the quick fire bass riffing that then has the calm and cool guitar lines strumming through as Ng then gives the track its soul with his almost chanting lyrics. “Ride Your Horse” has the same sort of emergency instrument playing as if Gong Gong Gong will not have another chance to perform. This adds a fever to the album that is appealing as the song really does gallop with the instrumentation and will keep you on the edge of your speakers.
The rest of Phantom Rhythm connects with similar tones and ideas but even though each song structure uses the same three components, Gong Gong Gong accomplish new outcomes on each track. Phantom Rhythm is just a record you need to hear, as there is no descriptions that can give this indie spirit filled album justice. Much like Japan’s Kikagaku Moyo, Gong Gong Gong speak a universal language through their focus on details, passion behind the singing and dedication to their art!
Gong Gong Gong Website
Gong Gong Gong Facebook
Wharf Cat Records
– Reviewed by Thomas Wilde