Red Ghost is a project that offers the familiar, organic groove of modern Americana or folk-rock. Snapdragon as an opener presents an interesting concept and a musically full soundscape, but it’s undoubtedly the following song I Can’t Be Myself that connects on a distinct and memorable level. Perhaps the band’s live sound is more likely to let an energetic track thrive and draw an audience, but for the solo listener at home, there’s something heartbreakingly real about this second song – the leading voice is laid bare and appears softly gritty in its delivery of this incredibly open, widely relatable song.
She Says (Whiskey Down at 4am) introduces a vibe that pretty perfectly suits that implied by its title. The instrumentation is crisp and satisfying, the song has warmth and compelling story-telling, a sense of dialogue and two perspectives. It’s a laid back, good vibes kind of piece, but not without drama and a sense of mild anticipation. Something New follows with an explosive country rock aura – even the leading vocalist delivers in a more classically country manner here. The melody and the energy feel familiar and comforting. You can pretty much guarantee by this point that a Friday night at the bar with the Miles Maxwell band playing would be an evening well spent.
Jenever (in Acquia) is an instrumentally magical piece of music that comes through at just the right moment to let its ambiance really embrace you. The musicianship is incredibly impressive but somewhat subtle in being so. Be With Me afterwards bursts into lightness and joy, a classic feel emerges and a simple, directly addressing string of lyrics make it a very personal song – albeit one that’s easy to connect to any number of near relationships.
The intriguingly titled Terrible Song is one that unfolds to be a warming, stylish highlight. The honesty and the clarity of the leading voice and those meandering guitar riffs makes for something immediately likable. Ceiling Fan afterwards continues the intrigue and adds further to the musical strengths of the project. The vocals here have passion and power, the melody descends throughout and creates a long-chain effect that has you hanging on every word and sees you swept away in the evolution of the moment.
Things come to a close with the gentle and deeply reflective title track – an easy personal favourite, the chord progression and the organic swagger of the instrumentation creates something cool and thoughtful. All of this accompanies the softness of the vocal delivery, these final, almost whispered moments, captivate entirely. It’s a brilliant song, fascinating and quite addictive in how it builds up and moves along. The song’s hook is simple but undeniably effective, those two words and the following chorus of distant vocals create a calming moment that feels much bigger than the instrumentation suggests. A great way to finish and a likely reminder to head back and listen through once more. Red Ghost in full makes for a thoroughly enjoyable playlist.