The Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost has grown up, gotten bolder, and become a juggernaut of guitar-driven indie rock. Where their first record, Broken Record, was chaotic and claustrophobic, with a constant feeling of unchecked urgency, Color Sympathy shows the band learning to harness the power of that record, and channeling it into a very mature and strong album.
What remains constant throughout all of the songs on Color Sympathy is the reigning sense of sadness and longing. The songs aren’t sad in an “emo” kind of way, but they are really sad and depressing songs that just happen to rock along the way.
The guitars and drums are the stars of this show; the guitars sound kind of like Steve Albini’s guitars in Shellac and Big Black (very high end laden, scratchy and abrasive). They grate throughout, but the way in which they’re played keeps them from becoming painful, as Albini’s guitars tend to do. The bass guitars are overdriven and chunky (creating a very prototypically indie, yet welcome sound). I guess the most startling aspect of this record would have to be the lead singer’s voice, which has evolved into some weird combination of Bono and the lead singer from The Flaming Lips. His voice is truly unique, and it plays on early Bono styles, back when Bono was still aggressive in his vocal delivery (“Sunday Bloody Sunday,” for example). The lead singer here is very frantic about his delivery, but it’s done in a manner as to not make the listener uneasy. It’s remarkable.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that this is a dark, brooding, and incredibly powerful guitar rock album, with but one mistake (the silly “Toledo”). This is one that will be on everyone’s top ten list this year. Highly Recommended.
Clearly Records: http://www.clearlyrecords.com