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Ghost Stories
Sonic Boom Recordings

Two words alternately describe this album, brilliance and blah. The album follows along the same lines as The Shins and possibly a less raw The Decemberists, yet just doesn't have enough of a good thing to keep me interested. There are 4 or 5 tracks on the album which are very good, and in fact absolutely brilliant, but it seems like all the talent was squeezed out in concentrated form and the rest is filler.

Ghost Stories is the creation of Ron Lewis, who has associated himself with the likes of The Fruit Bats, The Joggers, and Colin Meloy in times past. Ron actually recorded each track in his own home on 8-track recording equipment, as well as produced and mixed the entire album. It seems that the lo-fi image that was intended for the album was propagated by a substandard mixing job. The vocals were difficult to discern over the overpowering instruments at times which may or may not have been the intention, but it bothered me.

The tracks I enjoyed all tended to be at the beginning of the album. "Catacombs" reminded me of The Decemberists with its raw feel, lush melodies, and innovative supporting harmonies. My absolute favorite track, however, is "The Upper Ten/The Lower Five". This track has such flippin' sweet chord progressions that when combined with the vocals, became similar to early They Might Be Giants (one of my favorite bands…). "You Wear It Like a Stained Glass Window" begins with a piercing guitar hovering on a single note which eventually gives way to a smooth, soft melody with airy vocals. "The Motions" seems like it could be the melding of The Postal Service and Zero 7 with its smooth rising and falling melodies. The tracks towards the end are a different story. They become much stranger and less listener friendly, which may show musical growth over a period of time since the album is more of a compilation of works over a period of 7 years. That being said, it is my opinion that the album would have been better off with less of a time span.

I am really torn on this album, although I can say that even though every track on the album isn't an instant classic, the songs that are good are absolutely brilliant. Definitely worth a listen, and that's the final word!

-Liger Woods

Track List:
1. Catacombs
2. The Upper Ten/The Lower Five
3. You Wear It Like a Stained Glass Window
4. The Motions
5. Secret Life of the Union Part II
6. The Black Hand
7. The Nettles In Your Mouth
8. Isn't It Appropriate That Way
9. Secret Life of the Union Part I
10. The Pink Princess Eskimonia
11. Even A Vampire Wouldn't Drink My Blood

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