Thursday 18 October 2012

Early Ghost - Cadaques

Album review by KevW

These six Britons are looking further afield than just the UK for their inspiration. Formed in 2009, Early Ghost have shared stages with First Aid Kit, Sea Of Bees and Beirut, this would suggest that the noise they make is an organic one with its roots in tradition folk music from around the world, and that's pretty much bang on the money. The album's title, 'Cadaques', is the name of a small coastal town in northern Spain, and sure enough there are points when their music touches upon Spanish folk, but that's only one string to their sonically well travelled bow. If you were to stumble upon the track 'Until I Go' it would be easy enough to assume we were looking at at British folk with one eye on those who gave it psychedelic leanings forty-odd years ago (or maybe even some of The Coral's recordings), yet that's only part of the story.

Much of 'Cadaques' feels like the soundtrack to a modern spaghetti western that's yet to be written, there's a very cinematic quality to the echoing whistles of 'The Hidden Stirs' and the title-track could be the theme tune to a 70s Mexican TV show; this is not a bad thing. If we're giving the impression of a novelty record, rest assured that while they may have their tongue in cheek at the odd point and this is often a fun album, it's no parody and these are songs to be taken seriously. The gorgeous 'The Dream & The Deep Parts 1 & 2' should put paid to any accusations otherwise. It may be better to put them in a similar bracket to Calexico in that they're picking flavours not commonly used in popular music and adding them to their concoctions for an exotic, more interesting sound.

There's some great writing here and near perfect arrangements: when things need to be kept subtle they are, when they can afford to load the songs with brass they do. Mariachi horns mingle with plucked guitar and accordion on the widescreen 'In A Single Mind' and the finale of 'Poor Man's Trill' is a splendidly orchestrated piece of dark, Latin-infused Americana with spooky backing vocals. Early Ghosts prove to be masters of creating moods on this album, not least on 'Interlude', and by those final flourishes of brass you feel as though you've been taken on a journey. 'Cadaques' is inventive and expertly carried out, it feels completely authentic, regardless of the fact that it's the product of British minds tapping into mostly foreign cultures, and we should start taking bets on which track is the first to be licensed out to a feature film, something these songs feel born to do.

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