Reviews:: Ghost Stories Quixoticism

It’s hard to consistently find bands to be passionate about. The way the blogosphere works makes it important to jump on a band early, but forces you to move on just as fast. Sure you may love the record, but you can’t post about the album 5 times. I love the National’s Alligator and listen to it at least once a week, but over a year later, does anyone still care? Probably not (and with good reason).

The problem with this mentality is you are forced to praise a band after a few listens of a song or two. Then, because a lot of the bands that are featured on blogs are small, the band is probably so grateful to get some press that they contact you and all of a sudden you have a vested interest in the band. It becomes harder to be critical, and your opinion of the work becomes inflated. You want them to succeed, so everything becomes high recommended!!! Ironically, if the band actually makes it big, the people that supported them most are the first to leave their side.

I was reading a piece on Bowie the other night by Lester Bangs, and he summed up my feelings perfectly.
“Hero-worshippers (fans) must live with the continually confirmed dread of hero-slippage and humiliating personal compromise in your standards and plain good sense about, oh, two to three weeks after the new elpee masterwork first hits our turntables.”
Without ingesting the complete product and taking the time to really absorb a record before making our decisions, we are going to continually miss out on the best parts of a record or quickly become bored with what we once thought was mind blowing.

A few perfect examples are Daniel Hutchens new record, Love Songs for Losers and the lovely Canasta record, We Were Set Up. Both records have songs that jump out of your headphones and draw you in. You can’t help it. A catchy track is a catchy track. But when you really take the time to absorb each record, you hear hidden lyrics, understated notes and emotions that really make the records amazing. You can’t catch the meaning of every record on the first couple listens. You can’t scan a record within twenty minutes and post on the best track with any objectivity.

Well, for the first time in a long time, I think I’ve found a record worth the unlimited praise we all tend to deliver. Ghost Stories upcoming release, Quixoticism, is an amazing collection of bedroom melodies from Ron Lewis. I’ve been streaming the album for about a week and the sparse pop melodies he writes are fantastic. The sincerity and warmth of lo-fi recordings always gets me, but this record features so many styles and understated moments of gold it's hard to stop listening. Ron manages to create crunchy rockers (Isn't it Appropriate That Way), bedroom symphonies, and everything else in between.

The subtle additions that beef up the minimal production, like the choral outro to The Upper Ten/The Lower Five or the quirky fuzzed out static of Nettles in your Mouth, have me hooked. Moments, like the drum and “bada bah ba ba” on the motions remind me fondly of the Clarity-era Jimmy Eat World. It’s simple, it’s fun, but it’s more than that. This record is one I can’t really explain the way I want. It is what it is, but somehow it seems like so much more.

MP3:: The Upper Ten/The Lower Five
MP3:: You Wear it like a Stained Glass Window
MP3:: The Motions

Or for a real treat, stream the whole thing over at Sonic Boom.


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