There are two kinds of albums released today for the most part. There are those which are exactly what you expect and in that case are almost boring. The songs may be great, but if you know exactly what you’re getting heading into the album, it almost isn’t fun to listen to. Then there are those albums that you have no clue what you are about to hear when you turn on the CD. Those tend to be the better experiences…sometimes the music isn’t great but there are times when the album blows you away and takes you to another space.
Ghost is an example of a record that came from an artist who I was not all that familiar with, so I knew that it was going to be a bit of an auditory experiment so to speak. Well this was one successful experiment. The entire album mostly consists of Stevens on guitar, but he uses some pleasant effects on it which enhance its sound. So often, a guitarist uses effects on their album almost as a crutch or to be “different”. In doing so, they wreck the sound. On Ghost, Stevens doesn’t rely on a sound manipulating program to create a good album. Instead, he uses effects sparingly; the focus is on the compositions, which are technically impressive while still retaining a level of accessibility.
In terms of the high point of the album, my favorite single track is probably Draw. It’s just over three and a half minutes long, and it reminds me somewhat of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and John Frusicante’s new album. The overall feel of the song reminds me very much of VTA off the aforementioned album, just with less effects. It’s definitely a highlight on an album with lots of them.
If I had one real complaint, it’s that after a while, the songs do blend into each other in a way. On an album like this, it’s really not much of a complaint. When I hear an instrumental album, I want it to have a “feel” throughout it. When there are jarring changes it can be confusing. Still, it is a bit of a hindrance to the record, since each track is almost too similar. Also some of the songs tend to be repetitious; an example of this is Big Sky. It’s a great song, but it kind of goes though itself a few too many times.
Don’t get me wrong. This album is one of the better ones I have heard in 2010. It is fun and usually exciting to listen to, and the few issues it has really doesn’t bring it down all that much. All I know is that Matt Stevens has a bright future if he keeps releasing albums like Ghost.