The Presets – Ghosts

The Presets Ghosts

Australia has been hot (accidental pun alert) for the past few years, sending a wave of artists across the blogosphere and into festival lineups the world over:Tame Impala, Empire of the Sun, Gotye, Nick Cave and more.

The distinguishing factor that unites Aussi exports is “uniqueness.” These bands all sound different from anything else in their genre (you know I hate that word…) and stick because of it.

The Presets are an electronic music duo that swing from emotive power pop to metal-tronica in the span of a few tracks. Their evolution over eight years and three albums is remarkable, with a completely new sound that is still pure Presets. Live shows are required for people who like to dance. Basically, they fucking rock.

“Ghosts,” the lead single off their most recent album “Pacifica,” is unlike anything the band has ever put out. It is a twisted ballad, a military dirge with an uncertain message, that rides on a bed of soft synths. If that sounds like a dissonant match, you aren’t wrong, but it works here.


“Once I was a very young man, and very young men are none too clever

Sailed across to faraway lands, and faraway towns of tin and terror

Ran amok in a strip called love, lost my mind in streets of neon

Now, I’m coming on back

Help me up move right, left foot forward.”


The Preset’s unique quality comes via singer Julian Hamilton’s vocals, which are truly unlike anyone else gracing the airwaves, and producer Kim Moyes’ insistance of building unrelenting tension that never leads to a drop. WAIT WHAT NO DROPS? WHAT WILL THE KIDS THINK?

This is electronic music for the intellectual, albeit the intellectual who wants to fight hordes of moshers in a strobe-lit pit. No drops, no jokes, pure power.

The Presets – Ghosts


The Presets – Ghosts

Never too late for a Thursday post! This track called my name from a plethora of choices. I haven’t felt so alive after listening to a track in a while (and by a while, I mean maybe a few days…when you live in a constant state of music this is what happens) and the chorus of “ohs” had me immediately hooked. There’s something about the tone of the vocals that gives you the feeling of epic  empowerment, as if the vocalist is speaking to a crowd of people. It’s not quite the lyrics that do it, so much as actual tone of his voice. I think it also has something to do with male chorus in the background, who do an especially great job at setting the scene.

Ran ‘em up in a strip called love 
Lost my mind in the streets of neon 
Now I’m coming on back 
Help me up move right, left foot forward

The Presets are an Australian electronic duo, though their music is electronic in a cool way. One of the first posts I ever wrote for EMPT was about a tUnE-yArDs concert that I went to around this time last year. I remember talking about electronic music for what seemed like a long rant of time, but the point was to look at artists who don’t necessarily work towards the electronic genre of music, but towards implementing electronic instruments into their music. Combining bare, strong vocals against simple electrified orchestral sounds. Introducing a driven and quickly paced drum. All of this is so that we end up right where we should: throwing our hands into the air as if the clouds were opening up to a choir of hallelujahs and maybe doing some karate moves. Because that is definitely what I ended up doing halfway through the song.

I just realized that I’m sitting in my apartment completely dark, with the exception of fairy lights that are hanging from the walls. I’ve listened to this track probably twelve times over the span of the last half hour, and I’ve done so with noise-canceling headphones, as well as a decent speaker system. If you’re looking for the ultimate experience, go for darkness and speakers. It will do incredible things for your evening.

The Presets – Ghosts

BONUS: *I dated this guy for a minute last year and he was actually the one who introduced me to The Presets. As we sat nestled in the back of a bar in the village listening to this song from his Blackberry, I realized that I was 1) really into these guys, and 2) listening to a song on a Blackberry. Totally different feel than Ghosts but still got that groove that I know you’ll love.*

The Presets – Yippiyo-ay