Album Review: Sometimes Ghosts | Sometimes Ghosts
As I’m listening to the homonymous, Indie Folk/Rock debut by Sometimes Ghosts, I feel this is the exact reason the Sanctum was created for. To give space to heartfelt music that dwells between the light and the dark, has soul, depth and honesty. During the first listen, the album feels like the child of Asgeir and Of Monsters And Men but before I betray anything else, let’s get deeper into this newfound project by solo act Dan Kennedy.
Kennedy’s warm, soothing vocals are harmonizing over an ethereal synth, creating a celestial place called ‘So I Send You’ where the colors are pastel, the gravity is non existent and everything feels blurry but safe, like a dream. The album’s cover art manages to visualize the vibe using calming blue and turquoise hues. Lyrics of lost love and longing are sang over –toned down but glorious- horns celebrating all that passed and all that’s to come as the opener fades seamlessly into the following ‘Sometimes Ghosts’. As soon as ‘Sometimes Ghosts’ starts playing I feel like running in the halls of a haunted house, not at night but during daytime. The healing sun rays are piercing through the windows and all my troubles are gone. Am I cured from humanity’s original sin? Am I dead? Is everyone else? Images from ‘The Others’, an old classic starring Nicole Kidman came to my head. The line ‘Once you just let go, you’ll feel alright’ hits home for everyone, whether it’s someone that lost a loved one over a painful illness or even someone who is struggling to keep a relationship that leads nowhere. The instrumental overflows with sweetness and romanticism, slowly building the sound of the album.
The keys of the following ‘Tomorrow, Pt.1’ are purposefully similar to the sound of a kid’s piano and my mind went straight to ‘Made of Bricks’, the debut of Kate Nash and songs like ‘Foundations’ or ‘Mariella’. The track is super entertaining to say the least, taking storytelling to another level, exploring themes like overthinking, fear and guilt. I could even imagine a scenario where the protagonist, Sally, is suffering from ADHD, compulsiveness or even Alzheimers. Or maybe she’s just a worried soul trying to find a place to belong to. We’ve all been there. The magic of songs as personal as ‘Tomorrow, Pt.1’ is the way they are free to interpret. Now, drama or not, the playful melody and overall approach to the track gives another perspective to the struggles of everyday life and that makes it a real mood-changer to listen to through our toughest days.
The percussion of ‘Tired Winds’ is galloping like a horse through fields of self-doubt and numbness and it sounds more current that ever. ‘So bored of all the same conversations’ – ‘I just sit and watch the world pass me by’. It’s about feeling alienated in a world where people are being fake to be accepted and satisfy other’s agendas. It’s about finding hope, a familiar voice, a hand to hold into a crowd of faceless humans. And even though Kennedy seems to have found it in someone else, let me add that most times this hand, this familiar voice is our own. By the way, music that opens this kind of conversation is always good music. Just saying. 'Tired Winds' goes among my personal favorites. The ‘End of the Century’ is a beautiful piece that somehow manages to simplify our fear of passing time, fading memory, feeling lost and losing control. Kennedy’s fully aware that life is life and we can control nothing but ourselves. Making mistakes is only natural and feeling lost is part of our process of understanding our existence and purpose in this world. The subtle yet commanding snares combined with the trombone offer a sense of climax as well as extra weight to the wise words. The line ‘And I have come to never be prepared… I’m lost but I’ve never been less scared’ touched me deeply and made me shed a tear for all the work I’ve put into letting go of things that don’t work for me. *Getting emotional*
‘In A State’ and ‘Tomorrow, Pt.3’ make for a loud celebration of love, awakening and the future. The way the first one explodes at 01:25 leaves us In A State of euphoria. Now If I was to give a face to ‘Tomorrow, Pt.3’, I’d visualize a little rascal running around, demanding everything, having zero patience – ‘I can’t wait til tomorrow’-. The confident, mischievous instrumental is made to make you get up and move your body, shake off the hard winter we’ve been through. Or maybe all the winters since 2020 (listening in March 2022). Both tracks offer a bright and optimistic closure in the likes of ‘Little Talks’ and ‘Dirty Paws’ by Of Monsters And Men. The LP closes in the most dreamy way, just like it started. ‘August’ is a letter to love itself, asking for its return, for comfort and certainty. If ‘August’ and ‘So I Send You’ traded places in the tracklist, I wouldn’t even bother and that’s quite an interesting circle for an album.
To sum up, ‘Sometimes Ghosts’ is one of those albums one feels proud and lucky to have come across. It’s stuffed with love and thoughtfulness while it’s both nostalgic (past) and hopeful (future). I mean, If you’ve ever cried while smiling or smiled while crying, this is definitely your soundtrack. This is the music you turn to every time you need some comfort, some time and space for your mind to rest, for your heart to drift away. Fans of the artists mentioned in the review will definitely appreciate the sound of Sometimes Ghosts and Dan Kennedy deserves a place in the list of the most promising Indie Folk/Rock acts of 2022.
Enjoy Sometimes Ghosts here: