Monday, December 28, 2015

Music Monday: Carry The Ghost Review

         My hiatus from this blog came at a bad time, because a lot of really great albums came out between August and December: some really great ones and then some really big disapointments. So I have a lot of reviews to catch up on, and I apologise if they seem redundant at this point, but whatever!

           I thought I'd start with what I think is the best album to come out in all of 2015: Carry The Ghost by Noah Gundersen. It's times like these that I really thank my lucky stars for having Liz Tramp in my life. If it weren't for Liz, I would never have even heard of Noah Gundersen, and then my life would never have been the same. So, thank you Liz for having great taste in music, and I think you're pretty great too!

          Gundersen is one of those artists who could make the happy birthday song sound like the most passionate and pivotal thing he's ever sung in his whole life. His music just takes over the emotional side of your brain and holds on with a terrier-esc grip. His debut album Ledges, was and is my go to album to trump all others. Carry The Ghost is no different my friends. I could listen to this album all day,  every day for the rest of my life, and never tire of it. It is in a word: flawless.

           Gundersen is a modern folk artist, so it is no surprise that this album, like Ledges, is unequivocally folk. The lyrics present a broken, passionate, wreck of a man in true folk fashion;  however, instrumentally, Carry the Ghost has a little more bite to it. While Ledges infused it's songs with rich fiddle, and acoustic guitar almost exclusively, Ghost includes more electric guitar, percussion, and a much more present piano.

            The album opens with solo piano, playing the opening chords of Slow Dancer. The piano gives way to electric guitar rifts, and soft percussion, and later, a frantic and passionate string section. Slow Dancer feels like the old-school ballads of yesteryear, and is a beautiful way to set the tone for the rest of the album. Halo (Appear/Disappear) is a dark self-examination: beautiful and heartbreaking. Gundersen has a way of making each lyric matter, without making you feel like he's forcing the emotion out of his songs. It just flows so naturally from his song writing and his performance.

             Selfish Art is perhaps one of the most interesting songs on Ghost. It is Gundersen analysing his song writing, it's purpose in the grand scheme of things, and the motivation behind it. It is raw and unashamedly honest.

I'm watching as the stage goes black
How long until we all go back 
To being nothing at all
Nothing but a spark in someones eye
Am I giving all that I can give
Am I earning the right to live
By looking in a mirror
There's nothing more sincere than selfish art

           Gundersen examines past, broken relationships, in Show Me The Light, Silver Bracelet, Jealous Love, and Blossom. Silver Bracelet uses light guitar trills and tender visuals, as Gundersen recalls fond memories of better times.

Silver bracelet in my cup
Holder marks like bread crumbs on your trail line
And the pictures on the fridge
From the booth in Tennessee that one time
When I was in love and you were in love with me also
Holding my hand
Kissing my mouth like you wanted to
Back before the money tool its toll
Back before the rhythm lost its soul
Back before I made up my mind to go

Blossom is especially beautiful in its lyrics and instrumentation. Gundersen sadly sings about a loving a relationship, that still could not work, while sincerely wishing the other well: "May you blossom like a flower, may you go dancing in the air"

Gundersen also examines the topics of human nature, sexuality, and God in The DifferenceEmpty From the Start, and Topless Dancer 

         Carry the Ghost is a beautiful sophomore album for Gundersen. It is an emotional, tender, sensual and passionate folk album and I am entirely in love with it. I struggle to find fault lines or cracks in Ghost for this review. If there are any, it's that it's just not long enough, so I definitely recommend the Deluxe edition.

P.S. blogging in China is great! I can write a Music Monday on a Tuesday, even though it's still Monday for a large portion of my readers! Winning!

P.P.S: Hope you all had a great Christmas! 

1 comment:

  1. aw, shucks! I think that I can thank you for a large portion of my music infatuation ;) #differencemaker


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