Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ghosts, (the) Devil - and a Song for Spring

I think the Internet killed that concept of a 'sophmore slump...'

No more Strokes, no more Weezer's... most rock/pop bands, now, it seems, aren't found or given fanfare until a fair time after their debut - leaking out onto blogs with their bio's substantially filled with past works and anecdotes of the scene's through which they matured...

Another case: Patrick Davy & the Ghosts - sounding bigger, more confident, more fully realized here on their 2nd LP (the recently released The First Cold Night) then on their debut from about a year ago (Albeit, some tracks repeat...still, this feels like the proper 'debut').

Not that they've stumbled onto some sort of quaking Eureka-esque spell of songs that profoundly shifts their style and sensibilities from their initial tract - no, no rap rock, funk or synthesizer-bolstered dance-tunes - it's just a clearer picture, a firmer voice... Augmentation, if you will - upon the dynamic guitars, winding and wailing out in squalls of fuzz ("Home"), while the bass and drums emit more character, more of a groove, fierce and up front with the "The Devil," but also flexing subtler sways and bluesy struts on "Song for Spring" - the latter acting as a nice, softer shaded counterpart to some of the more arena-reaching jams like "It Got Me..." itself enveloping what is, at heart, a fine pop/rock ballad, with, again, an augmented sonic vigor, double tracked vocals and these cathartic riff at the bridges, reverb spilled out to its edges and punched up percussion.

Now, mentioning Strokes and Weezer at the top might assure that the ghost of the late 90's might hang over this write-up - maybe that's fitting - since some of these tunes sound resurrected from the hey days of alternative rock radio - First Cold Nights tunes would be radio ready singles in the post-grunge era - but, then, Davy (with Will Shattuck (drums) and Adam Michael Lee Padden (bass)) are also early 20-something-sons of the Internet - their rock ballads are ones marked palpably by their home-base Detroit, i.e. subtle shades of garage rust, along with the similar quasi-preservation/revisioining of indie-rock -shared by the scene's contemporaries, like Jesse & the Gnome or Citizen Smile.
But 'ballads' is the key word - aside from a few tracks, like "I've Got Yours," Cold Nights aims for the highest bar on pretty much every track... But, improvement is showing - as even in the aforementioned track, a softer, melancholic musing as it is, showcases not just your singer's characteristic guitar howl, but your singer's voice....

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