When we last heard from This Old Ghost, I profiled their EP Island of Violent Lovers, back during 2011’s “Year of the Album” project (they were #063). Their upcoming album Family Room, due out January 21st, features the unerringly catchy jangle-pop of “Emily Green,” which melds Posies-esque pop hooks on the chorus with the sunny pop disposition of Death Cab for Cutie or the Lonely Forest, making for an enjoyable listen. You can hear it below for yourself and decide if, like me, you’re now looking forward to the rest of what Family Room has to offer. Here’s hoping if I report back at the start of 2014 I won’t find them still mired in obscurity.
Year of the Album — #063
This Old Ghost – “Island of Violent Lovers EP” (2011, Independent)
This unholy alliance between the pop smarts of Death Cab for Cutie and the indie-folk depth of Blitzen Trapper, Ian McGuinness of This Old Ghost launches a full-on assault with a mere six song EP, ensuring that fans will soon be clamoring loudly for more. “This Lifeboat is for Gold, Not People,” the EP’s opening track, sets the stage with acoustic guitar, bass and a solid wall of harmonized vocals which lure you into a false sense of security before pulsating percussion pushes the song into overdrive.
It’s a comfortable sound for the group, and they clearly have the chops to make this music pop even when it lacks traditional “hooks.” The quality of the music in this case is the hook, and these are songs which definitely stand up to repeated listening. If you enjoyed Death Cab’s Codes and Keys or The Lonely Forest’s Arrows earlier this year, this is music perfectly tailored to your tastes. And songs like “Tiger Man of the Matto Grasso” hint that the band is capable of creating melodies as deftly catchy as Auld Lang Syne, another New York band playing music that pushes the boundaries of modern folk cool. Island of Violent Lovers is a perfect way to spend half an hour immersed in folk music with a pop sensibility, proving there’s defintely plenty to love about music still as 2011 draws to a close.