One could look at the history of Ghost Dance as a cautionary tale, even as their fate proves to be somewhat typical. Formed in the mid-1980s from former members of Skeletal Family, Sisters of Mercy, and Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, they signed to Chrysalis Records. Unfortunately, the relationship between band and label quickly started to deteriorate, over disagreements related to the presentation of the band. It wasn’t for lack of good material; the members all had quality musical backgrounds. With strong songs like “Celebrate” and “The Love I Need” proving to be top-notch pop numbers, some success seemed guaranteed. The label balked at the band’s production choices, opting for a mismatched producer that transformed the special darkness of their sound into a somewhat bland, nondescript light metal pop that felt strangely off-kilter, awkwardly worn, and somewhat unrepresentative of the band’s true abilities. Not surprisingly, the band didn’t last, breaking up shortly after Stop the World was released.
Like many other archival releases, it’s Stop the World”s bonus material that helps to highlight the band’s strengths, and it makes the case that the released material simply didn’t come out right. The live tracks capture the band in its element, and songs that whimpered on Stop the World–most notably the previously mentioned numbers, as well as the title track–come to life, offering a dimension and depth sorely missing from the finished product. Ghost Dance never really had the chance to develop–it’s a shame that they didn’t have the right production team.