Here is a man who calls himself a ghost. The ghost, rather. The Ghost of Brooklyn. This ghost has put out his first full length album, I Am the Ghost of Brooklyn, this month.
The album opens on a track called “Strike Zone,” probably the standout of the album. It’s a sparse tune dominated by a quirky, just the tiniest bit off kilter guitar. “Jump” bears un undeniable resemblance to The Clash’s 1977 classic “I Fought the Law.” The third track, called “1980” — an unabashed nostalgia song and, at almost 5 full minutes, one of the longest cuts — slows the pace down. A reggae influenced track “One Love” follows — a foot-tappable tune marred by what sounded to me a lot like some autotune a couple times.
The middle third of the album is dominated by love songs to New York City — “Coney Island Baby” and “Where I Come From” — and “Beautiful Day,” a feel good anthem of sorts. The closing third is mostly love songs: “Love Lost,” “Simple Soul,” “Beautiful Girl,” and “The Great I Am” which, while sonically the most interesting song of the bunch, sounds a lot like a love song to himself.
While researching this review — I was mostly trying to find out The Ghost’s human identity, to no avail — I noticed a few different themes popping up in reviews from other sites. Two in particular stuck out to me:
Comparisons to early Elvis Costello and/or David Bowie
Props for the “rawness” of the recordings — the phrase “one mic and one guitar” was used repeatedly
The first point I’ll have to agree with. While I don’t so much hear the Bowie, there are definite and unmistakable strains of Costello throughout the album. As for the second point… the songs are raw, to be sure, but not in a way to be celebrated. To my ear, the rawness sounds more like it needs more work. Not to mention that The Ghost’s live videos clearly show he’s accompanied by a suite of effect pedals loaded with pre-programmed sounds — a far cry from “one mic and one guitar.”
I Am the Ghost of Brooklyn is not exactly an extraordinary album. The Ghost seems to use a multitude of very extended syllables and vocal affectations. The tracks are all quite similar to each other and difficult to distinguish. Overall, I get the impression that The Ghost of Brooklyn puts a lot of time and energy into maintaining the “ghost” gimmick. With more work and attention the music can be just as mysterious.
The album is available in its entirety on Youtube.
*-reviewed by Andrew Tobia of Indie Band Guru