Release Date: 2/06/12
Reviewer: Carter Fraser
- You They See
- Save My Day
Ghostree is a newly formed rock/indie-worship band from the UK. Interestingly, their debut EP was recorded in Nashville, where the group sought help from members of relatively better known American acts such as The Glorious Unseen, Gungor, and The Ember Days. On their self-titled EP, Ghostree pursues an atmospheric, guitar-based style with a mixed bag of successes and missteps.
Ghostree is neither entirely new, nor entirely heard before. At their best, the foursome does an admirable job of creating a fresh atmosphere of tension and ambition, while by and large sticking to basic song structures. “Hope” begins things well with a haunting guitar melody and progresses into a well-constructed rock anthem. It comes across as generally straightforward, yet wholly satisfying, mostly thanks to solid guitar work throughout. “You They See,” however, is the strongest track here, best displaying the sound Ghostree is trying to capture. The drums suddenly take center stage for the first and really only time on the EP, revealing a surprising amount of creativity. Mark Halliday’s frenetic beat in combination with Ghostree’s effective shimmering guitars makes the verses of “You They See” among the most impressive moments on Ghostree, exhibiting complexity indicative of a band with room to grow. The lack of many other opportunities for the drummer to shine is a tad disappointing considering his obvious talent. Vocalist Haydon Spenceley does a fine job holding the fort down as well, with his slightly nasal, distinctively British voice, culminating in a solid batch of elements to be found on these five songs.
Beyond the first tracks, however, there is a noticeable drop in quality. Not that the later cuts are bad by any means; they simply fail to show the potential previously displayed. “Glorious” and “Save My Day” are for the most part your typical indie-worship fare, be that a positive or a negative for each individual listener. The atmospheres are still present, but are used less effectively as the main instrumental parts become less impressive. Lyrically Ghostree is mostly a familiar release as well, with few-to-no noteworthy lines. Most of the lyrics are along the lines of usual worship clichés, such as the chorus of “Glorious” which blandly states, “glorious / You are / the Savior of the world / Lover of my soul.” Perhaps the biggest offense in terms of originality is the predictable closer of “Hallelujah,” which ends with the common climax of the word “hallelujah” sung repeatedly. It’s a shame too, as some portions of the song show potential, but the all-too-familiar finish diminishes their effect. There are still enough redeeming qualities present though to keep the second half of the EP enjoyable.
Overall: Ghostree is a worthwhile listen for fans of the indie-worship genre, but it’s unlikely to draw in many new listeners. However, there are enough moments of proficiency to keep Ghostree on the radar in the very possible event that subsequent releases capitalize on their strengths to a greater degree.
RIYL: The Glorious Unseen, The Ember Days, softer Muse, Future of Forestry