In recent years a sub-genre has slowly emerged which seeks to combine 50s/60s rock and roll with eerie modern day production. Its most famous recent exponent would be Deerhunter who borrow from hitherto mismatched artists like Everly Brothers and several classic 4AD experimentalists. That Ghost recalls this movement in both name and sound and is the brainchild of Californian Ryan Thomas Schmale.
If there is one word to describe That Ghost it would be “wonky”. Everything about ‘Songs Out Here’ is slightly off-key from Schmale’s reverb-drenched vocals to the deliberately drunken percussion to the queasily infectious melodies. ‘In House’ is spare and emotionally ravaged like The Walkmen stripped down to the bare bones whilst ‘To Like You’ sounds like Del Shannon at his most haunted. There’s nothing more wonky than ‘Calls’, though, and perversely it’s also the most captivating track for all the right reasons given its chilling, heartfelt atmosphere.
Rather than hang on to Deerhunter’s coat tails, Schmale injects his own personality in to each of these impressive songs. The fact that this is a twenty one year old with a slew of releases already behind him, makes the feat even more impressive and his next step even more intriguing.
Deerhunter, The Walkmen, Khonnor, A.R. Kane