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Ghost BC: ‘If You Have Ghost’ (Album Review)

Ghost - If You Have Ghost - www.whysoblu.comHalloween came and went in a flash but the spirit has not left us here at Why So Blu?, because we have returned to the darkness to profile one of the most eclectic, charming, and diabolical bands to come out of Sweden in some time. Wait, did I say Sweden, Svenska? We’ve been profiling bands from that country recently on this site. The Sounds come to mind. Wink, wink. Now we’re entering the world of musical satire mixed with progressive rock, metal, and a very neat visage. Enter: Ghost. We will be reviewing their third album, which is an EP, and is made up of cover songs. With two full length albums that couldn’t sound anymore different, how will If You Have Ghost sound? Bring your holy water and let’s find out!  

Ghost - www.whysoblu.com

Album  

*I am aware that Ghost only uses the “BC” in the USA due to legal reasons. Everywhere else in the world they are simply known as “Ghost.” Carry on.

A brief background on Ghost and you will see that they made their big splash in the music almost three years ago with their pummeling first album called: Opus Anonymous. Fast forward two years or so to early 2013 and their second major label album called: Infestissumam. And here we are, roughly seven months later, with their official third release called: If You Have Ghost. Right off the bat, what separates If You Have Ghost from their previous releases, is the fact that Mr. David Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana) produced the album and plays drums and rhythm guitar on a couple of tracks. The other tidbit of information is that If You Have Ghost is an EP cover album. There are four tracks worth of covers and a fifth track of their hit single Secular Haze live in Brooklyn.

The opening track, covering Roky Erickson’s If You Have Ghostsgets the party started in a most lighthearted way. After listening to Papa’s vocals on their previous two recordings, it’s a done deal that his Excellency can sing his ass off. He has a very clean, silky, and smooth singing voice and it comes through so clear on this cover that I was blown away by it. In fact, it’s the lightest track off of the album and the least Ghost “sounding,” track, if that makes sense. It’s a groovy track.

I’m A Marionette is Ghost’s take on an ABBA’s track and this one does resemble something that would be on their last full length album, Infestissumam, and if you were lucky enough to get yourself the deluxe version – you would have gotten I’m A Marionette. Embedded in the song, it features some trademark ominous chanting in addition to some crunching guitars without going into overkill. I was not familiar with Marionette, because I have not listened to much ABBA in my lifetime. It is a catchy cover song and I do feel that Ghost did an admirable job in making it their own.

Ah, yes, Crucified, was my most anticipated track by the band. I’m a big fan of dance and trance and was familiar with the original by the Euro group Army of Lovers (Beavis and Butthead made fun of them many years ago) and at first it made me laugh that Ghost would even think about covering such a sugar coated song like that. Well, I decided to read the lyrics and that actually made all the difference. Crucified has thematic elements that fit perfectly in the realm of what Ghost is about and having the band do a sort of romanticized version, with excellent acoustic guitar flourishes, just sweetened the deal for me. It’s an epic track and the most ambitious one on this album.

His eminence and the Nameless Ghouls wrap up If You Have Ghost with a Depeche Mode cover of Waiting For The Night, and like the rest of the tracks, it doesn’t disappoint. The vocals pick up a bit and come off a bit haunting, because the guitars do chug along in accompaniment. Besides the track being a bit haunting it’s also a bit somber, without being depressing. Wrapping up the record is the band’s hit single, Secular Haze, taken from their live show in Brooklyn. It sounds great and is played slightly faster than the version on the record.

Overall, I’m rather impressed by this small burst of new material from Ghost. It’s all top quality stuff in terms of content and production. I’m looking forward to catching the band live in Los Angeles, hopefully in 2014, and I humbly await for more new material in the not-too-distant future. For now, I highly recommend If You Have Ghost, it’s a great sampler of songs that will give you a small inkling of what the band is about. They now have three albums of material and all three could not sound anymore different. It’s definitely a grand undertaking and should be applauded.

Ghost - www.whysoblu.com

Track Listing

If You Have Ghosts

I’m A Marionette

Crucified

Waiting For The Night

Secular Haze (Live)

Order If You Have Ghost via Digital Download !
 

Ghost - If You Have Ghost - www.whysoblu.com

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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