Ghost Thrower

Ghost Thrower

Written by: TL on 26/12/2013 17:42:22

Ghost Thrower is a new band formed around former Therefore I Am guitarist Travis Alexander and if its biography is to be believed, the first seeds for the band were laid when both Therefore I Am and Alexander's relationship were breaking up and when his life seemed pretty shitty overall. With that in mind it makes sense that the first record from his new record is a pretty morose batch of emo/shoegaze-rock that has more in common with the first Tigers Jaw record than it has with the powerful melodic hardcore of Therefore I Am, despite the latter band's Chris Fernandez and Alex Correira re-appearing in Ghost Thrower's line-up.

It's a transformation I can live with for the most part, enough for me to forgive the couple of songs here that stick out somewhat. Much like Cloud Nothing's "Attack On Memory" from last year, "Ghost Thrower" ranges from moments of moody, wallowing melody, over noisier and angrier outburts, all the way over to the distorted vocals and ironic distance of a "more-indie-than-emo" rock, and frankly, the clearest example of the latter, "The Unexamined Life", is grating to listen to with its leering attitude. "When Are You Coming Home" feels more genuinely frustrated though, making the dis-harmonic, distorted shouts seem more justified, but if I'm honest, they still don't sound too great.

Fortunately there's more promising stuff to be found when digging around before and after the two tracks which you could always consider skipping at numbers four and five. The album opener "Halloween in Brooklyn" is very Tigers Jaw with the poppy, ghost-like, "Uuhh-uh" girl-vocals alternating with the actual lyrics that strike home with lines like "You're listening to a band and you, wish you were Joy Division playing. You're speed up on Adderall, wish it was... cocaaaine!". The following "Lemons" sounds almost like Chris Conley is singing for a stretch, while the weeping guitar melody behind the chords of "Still Life With Paranoia" makes good on a Get Up Kids comparison that accompanied the album when it found me.

For more simple catchiness, listeners can check out "Illuminatus!" which makes a lo-fi pop refrain of the line "John Dillinger killed John F. Kennedy". While they're not the catchiest however, it's the following tracks "Dopamine And Other Divisions Of The Human Condition", "The King Of Louisiana" and "Young Luck" that I find the most promising here, conjuring up a ringing, regretful melodiousness that's reminiscent of Brand New songs from the "Deja Entendu" and "Devil And God" records, and while there's the caveat that Alexander and his mates are clearly below Brand New in terms of both lyrics and vocal delivery, the hint is there and it makes my ears stand up and hope for good things to come. Especially the latter has the potential to grow with its "Young luck goes on and on and on and on" hook and its moody bassline, before "Worry Addled Brain" sends the record off with its most direct burst of frustration, shouting "Where were you when my world exploded? in a tone that reminds me of Crime In Stereo.

Overall "Ghost Thrower" strikes me as an album that has more to offer than it lets on at first glance, with multiple vocal parts and guitar intricacies interwoven in a subtle yet effective manner, yet it also has the very "first album" feel of a record on which the band is still in the middle of finding its own sound. Its songs has the quality of feeling like the band let them develop instinctively instead of being overly calculating in terms of ensuring "wow" effect, but at the same time, if the band had hoped to stumble upon such an effect accidentally, they haven't been so lucky. Personally, I would be happy to see them push their sound in the "Deja Entendu" direction, even if the diversity of "Ghost Thrower" makes it feel more like an "Attack On Memory" (which is also cool), but in any case, Alexander and his mates would do well to be more ambitious in the songwriting, especially if at some point it no longer feels as necessary to write and record for the therapeutic reasons their bio speaks of. As long as they don't pull too far towards the semi-lethargic, lo-fi pop of something like Pity Sex's second record though, chances are they could be interesting to keep up with.


Download: Young Luck, Halloween In Brooklyn, Illuminatus!
For The Fans Of: Tigers Jaw, Pity Sex, Cloud Nothings, The Get Up Kids,

Release Date 15.10.2013
Broken Circles Records

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