Saturday, October 20, 2007

Gileah and The Ghost Train - (Self-Titled)

Label: The Love Library
Release Date: 10/23/07

Every once in a while a CD comes along that has so much vitality and substance that it actually makes the most cynical indie music listener love music again.

Gileah and the Ghost Train not just a band. It's the song in your head. It's the struggle you endure. It's the pain you feel. It's the doubt that lingers. It's the hope we all look forward to. More than music, Gileah and The Ghost Train takes you on a journey from the pit of despair to the peak of hope in a span of 35 minutes.

Gileah and the Ghost Train's sound has evolved enormously from their debut release The Golden Planes. Gileah Taylor's vocals have matured, the soundscape is much fuller, the lyricism is more advanced, and the record moves at a lightning pace. The instrumentation is complete with guitars, piano, percussion, strings, sound effects, etc. This train is on a mission and it rarely slows down and doesn't make any stops. There's a perfect mix of high-tempo and slow tunes so the listener remains fully engaged.

As for the music, I cannot help but draw comparisons to Sixpence None The Richer, Cat Power, and The Sundays. Gileah Taylor's voice is a chameleon. It can change from a sweet tone reminiscent of Leigh Nash and then on the next track take on a darker tone like that of Chan Marshall. But just because their sound reminds you of other bands doesn't mean Gileah doesn't bring anything new and fresh to the table. They combine the best of their predecessors to bring you some of the best folk-indie-pop that you haven't heard.

Track 1 "The Devil" sets a deceptively ominous tone for the record with vocals that are smoky and sultry alongside piano and sparse guitar which eventually erupt into a rousing mix of everything the band can throw at you.

Track 2 "The Emergency" continues the somber tone and Cat Power-esque vocal stylings. This time the pace is faster and you'll be singing along to the great chorus.

Track 3 "The Escape" reminds me of Sixpence None the Richer right from the first note. This song demonstrates how Gileah's voice can change on a whim to a sweeter, higher tone. Another great pop song that is quite addictive and singable, Gileah adds a sense of swagger and confidence to the vocals.

Track 4 "The Lazarus" introduces some light into the darkness with a more hopeful tone and chorus of :

One day it's gonna be alright...
One day It's gonna be alright when you rise.
Track 8 "The Shadow" is an outstanding song that has a rockin' pace and will stand out as one of your favorites. Sing it - the lyrics are included!

Gileah saves the best for last. Track 10 "The Spirit" is a happy song. It's also very honest and real. This inspiring song has an interesting synth intro and also the best chorus on the album:

At last my voice will joined with a thousand others
one sweet chorus
all of us singing hallelujah!

All I can say is if you like Cat Power and Sixpence (or Indie-Folk-Pop in general) than you shouldn't hesitate to check out this wonderful band at . I cannot possibly recommend this CD with any more enthusiasm.
~John M.


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