Ghost House is a self-proclaimed soul band that hails from Vancouver and hope you take notice of their debut album, Departures, with it’s satisfying harmonization of new wave, Motown soul, funk, and some may even say nu-jazz genres. Certain songs will get stuck deep in your head for days like the tracking device in Total Recall. However, just like that same tracking device, some are excruciatingly painful as well.
When you listen to Departures, you truly want to love it because Ghost House sound like they had a blast recording the whole album. Each song is filled with blotches of piano, excellent guitar riffs, and frenetic drumbeats that would make even the most grumpy old uncle dance at a wedding. With this being said, you wish the album would surprise at some point with a different methodology besides the drums and guitar making out with each other in gross public displays of affection. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for horns to come in at certain points just to break up the piano, guitar, and drum orgy that continues for all ten songs with no recess. If it was not for the refreshing female vocals in “Origami Nightmare” each song would mesh together as a monotonous drone. At some point you begin questioning how long you have been listening to the album. Even the audio clip of a weather forecast on “The Crows Know” is a welcoming change of pace on the album. Vocally and lyrically, everything is fine. There is nothing to bleat about in that aspect but the true problem is the song dynamics or should I say lack thereof.
There are plenty of catchy songs on Departures; standout songs such as “Transmit”, “The Crows Know” and “Penultimate” litter the album with hope but do not make up for the bland others that drag it down like an anchor straight to the bottom of the indie music sea where countless other bands have drowned due to lack of experimentation. Do not get me wrong, I fully enjoyed Departures, but with each listen you get an overwhelming sense that the band has the potential to record something much better in the future. This is a formidable first step though.