Ghost Light: Best Kept Secrets
Ghost Light’s debut LP opens with “Elegy,” an eerie sprawl of piano, marching snares and operatic vocals. On one hand, it’s an aberration—nothing else on Best Kept Secrets taps into that same gothic energy, or even suggests you might be listening to the same band. On the other hand, that stylistic disorientation makes it the ideal overture. From start to finish, the album is defined by cinematic surprises and stylistic detours—entering each track is like choosing your prize behind the massive doors on “Let’s Make a Deal,” only to eventually open all of them anyway. The eclectic project originated when five jam-scene roamers—Joe Russo’s Almost Dead/ American Babies guitarist Tom Hamilton, American Babies guitarist Raina Mullen, classically trained keyboardist Holly Bowling, Nicos Gun bassist Steve Lyons and RAQ drummer Scotty Zwang—linked up to expand their sonic horizons. They began writing in spring 2017, adhering to a strict regimen of cosmic acid trips, pondering what would happen if they crosspollinated genres like, say, folk and grunge. It could have been a cluttered disaster. Instead, Best Kept Secrets is equally heady and fun: “Diamond Eyes” is soft-rock funk with a Latin-prog piano break; “Isosceles” is a brooding, fingerpicked folk-rock seance with thrilling, Zappa-esque bursts of baritone sax and marimba; “Best Kept Secret” closes the record with a whirlwind of heavy blues-rock, outfitted with horns, jazz flute and an eruption of stoner-rock distortion. There isn’t a psychedelic bluegrass rap song on Ghost Light’s first album—but the fact that there could be tells you everything you need to know.