This Old Ghost - Island Of Violent Lovers EP
Record Label: Self Released
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Formed in late 2010, through the ever relevant medium of Facebook, This Old Ghost comprised of Ian McGuinness (Lead Vocals & Guitar), Karri Diomede (Lead Vocals & Flute), Ryan Sniffen (Guitar & Vocals), Brendan Coughlan (Bass) and Robbie Pizzolato (Drums) , have released their debut six track EP, Island Of Violent Lovers, after only eight months together. The quintet, hailing from New York, have financed their EP through fundraising site Kickstarter and have delivered to us six tracks of a chirpy, summertime soundtrack .
This Old Ghost has penned an everything-except-the-kitchen-sink release, in the form of Island Of Violent Lovers. The six tracks are littered by acoustic guitar, drums, bass, gang chants, sweet harmonies, and, oddly enough, flute. The EP is opened by “This Lifeboat Is For Gold, Not People”. Muted acoustic guitar and girl/boy harmonies kick off procedures. McGuinness’ vocals, despite my reluctance to use lazy comparisons, are extremely reminiscent of the eloquent voice of Death Cab For Cutie’s Benjamin Gibbard, which is definitely positive. The acoustics give way to a full band and some intense flute playing. While it is certainly a novelty, the addition of flute is nothing to be laughed at. It fits perfectly alongside the typical indie rock sound that “This Lifeboat Is For Gold, Not People”, and indeed the release in whole has, and sets This Old Ghost out from the crowd.
“Madams Of The Old West” continues along the same ropes as the opener but this time with a, well, western twist. Sounding like, what I imagine would happen if a cowboy was handed a guitar, it’s cinematic, catchy and memorable. “Attack On The Settler’s Cabin” and the strangely named “Sin Happy Playgirls Are Ruining The Adirondak” continue the formula successfully, but don’t really break much ground within the release.
“Fast Money From Slow Horses” is the best track of the EP. It’s the musical equivalent to an earworm, and it burrows itself into the sub conscious, but it’s welcome to. It perfectly melds the indie rock sound with the flute, with a great melody, and the strongest lyrical performance of the release. The EP closes with “Tiger Man Of The Matto Grasso” which is a fitting rounding off to the release.
With Island Of Violent Lovers, This Old Ghost has crafted a great debut release. They’ve penned six catchy, upbeat songs that breathe life into a sound that can become boring when done wrong. Obviously, there are drawbacks to the release, as with all debuts. The unending chirpiness can come across slightly grating, the quirkiness of the boy/girl vocals, the flute, and the western/country touches may be a bit hard to stomach for a cynical listener, and the middle third of the release is a bit forgettable, but overall the positives by far outweigh the negatives. It’s a unique release from a group of musically talented people (special props to Pizzolato, as the drumming is actually perfect and is a key component of the EP) and is a very promising sign of things to come from This Old Ghost.