[mp3/album review] That Ghost // Songs Out Here

After listening to the first track on That Ghost’s new album, Songs Out Here, it becomes very easy to get lost in the hypnotic rhythms and echoed vocals of Ryan Schmale– the 20-year-old and lone songwriter behind his pseudonym band name.  The album is his fifth release, and fourth with Brooklyn-based twosyllable records.

In his young career, Schmale has built his songs around the importance of simplicity that weaves complex emotions in through his lyrics.  With Songs Out Here, Schmale takes to the life of the lonesome wanderer, having written several of these songs on the estate of classic adventure author, Jack London, out in Sonoma County, California.  Using the author as a muse, That Ghost’s new album provides the perfect tunes for inspiring personal contemplation.

The first two songs on the album, “After Passing” and “In House,” establish a relaxed mood with minimal strumming, metronome beats, and soft lyrics that wonderfully lull the reader into a state of comfort.  Schmale’s vocals are the highlight.  While the reverb is still a key ingredient, the static that could be heard in his vocals on That Ghost’s previous album, Young Fridays, is longer there.  In an exchange of grit for clarity, the listener can feel the personal emotions behind his voice.

It’s the album’s lead single, “To Like You,” that harkens to previous That Ghost albums more than any other piece on Songs Out Here, and is one of the albums few songs that could get you nodding your head with its driving rhythms.  The beat and guitar melody invoke a Middle Eastern vibe, while the melancholy vocals pull the song back to the album’s themes, making it one of the standout tracks.

Songs like “The Older” and “Calls” follow the style of the opening two songs, building a mood and atmosphere that invites the listener to focus on the various melodies.  As the album winds down, Schmale finishes in a more intimate manner.  The songs consist of little more than his voice and his guitar, with some quieter drums painted in the backdrop.  On the album’s final song, “Back,” the delicate strumming and drawn out vocals bring out his inward thoughts in an enjoyable manner, even if they tend to be a little more on the darker side.

Songs Out Here is set for a March 1, 2011 release date and can be pre-ordered here.

At That Ghost’s live shows, Schmale plays with three bandmates: Christopher Natividad, Alex Fleshman, and Darrin Schmale  The band currently has three shows announced:

January 22 – Thee Parkside, San Francisco, CA
January 29 – The Hub, Sacramento, CA
February 3 – Amnesia, San Francisco, CA

Connect with That Ghost // MySpace | Facebook

That Ghost // To Like You [mp3] from the forthcoming Songs Out Here

  • Kyle Wong

    Rich in Music you sound gay for the lead singer, is that normal. Could you please review the album Ready to Die in light of recent developments regarding the death of Christopher Wallace. Look closely at Gimme the Loot and be thankful that you won’t have to write lines like “the delicate strumming and drawn out vocals bring out his inward thoughts in an enjoyable manner”