“Our songs are always about relationships and feelings about people,” says Laura Guerrero Lora, frontwoman post-punk quartet Ghum. “Especially the worst ones.” Therapy is always close at hand when it comes to Ghum, whose lyrics dissect love with vicious precision.
The band’s best songs are propelled by heart-racing basslines and thrilling guitars; punky, but with the stately grace goth-pop. Guerrero Lora has the ability to sing in every register from whisper to scream, like early PJ Harvey – sometimes anguished, always raw. Often, Ghum’s tracks disintegrate instead ending, as if the band’s poise were just a mask.
They formed in 2017 Gumtree (hence the name), with Guerrero Lora joined by Brazilian bassist Marina MJ and Londoners Jojo Khor (guitar) and Vicki Butler (drums), then spent months bonding over beers at east London pub the Old Blue Last before starting to play live and releasing some music, including this year’s punchy singles Get Up and Saturn.
The long shadow Joy Division may hang over them (along with such peers as Drahla, Actors and Savages), but originality can be overrated. What matters is what you do with your influences, and Ghum’s intensity produces catharsis.