Introducing a fearlessly contemplative, deeply human project of conceptual intention and blissful musicality – producer and songwriter Dan Kennedy (Sometimes Ghosts) releases a stunning, self-titled debut album, and it makes for a powerful, wonderful listen.
Multi-layered and increasingly immersive as both the story and sound evolve, the album Sometimes Ghosts delves into the topic of loss after love – the subsequent feelings of longing; the passing of time. Specifically, we get the story of two people, one having died and left the other behind.
Heartbreakingly beautiful, to say the least, and started up gorgeously well by the opening song. A simple rise and fall melody, reinforced by multiple vocal layers for a dreamy, retro-harmonized effect, with an organic backdrop to bring in reality as life echoes through and away. So, I Send You details the dying moments of our protagonist’s partner, and leads into the subtle rhythm and isolated reflection of Sometimes Ghosts, the title track, just perfectly.
Stylistically blending elements of quirky pop, ethereal trip hop, and outright distorted emotional rock, the album proves as eclectic as it is utterly captivating.
Consider the sudden joyful folk-pop rhythm and colour of Tomorrow Pt. 1 – we’re in new territory, long-form verses and a higher vocal placement, a rising soundscape that backs up the imagery and wondering of the lyrics brilliantly. This one, by far, elevates the Sometimes Ghosts approach in being completely unpredictable and genre-free in its circus-like yet poetic exploration of daily life amidst despair. Contrast is masterfully crafted.
With Tired Winds we return to the melancholic subtlety, the familiar descending vocal lead, the personal touch as opposed to third-person storytelling. The synth-string wash re-emerges, a tripped up rhythm drenched in reverb, and a rising sense of being swallowed up by the song quite cleverly reinforces the overwhelming emotions and uncertainty of the lyrics.
End Of The Century keeps that vocal familiar, lyrics fresh, and weaves in a sort of Enya-like delicacy of production as things slowly shuffle along. The melody changes beautifully, resolving well for the chorus and providing perhaps the album’s most memorable hook yet. The balance between indie alternative and mainstream accessible stands tall here, along with the Sometimes Ghosts unique identity of expression.
We then get a welcomed dash of acoustic guitar fingerpicking for an up close and personal In a State. Once again the melody and lyrics feel deeply revealing yet relatable, and this is where the artist effectively bridges the gap between creator and audience – songs that feel authentically individual, rooted in truth, yet able to made anyone’s own. The switch to a knees-up rhythm and joyousness for the latter half also comes at just the right time for this album, reminding us not for the first time that a live show could light up a whole new side of this work.
Tomorrow Pt. 3 injects horns, rhythms, multiple vocals and a generally nostalgic, perhaps Beatles-esque kind of vibe, before building up into its own theatrical territory of joyful belief and excited anticipation.
“All I have is yesterday, and you feel so far away…”
The closing song August, briefly turns back towards hints of Imogen Heap styling, for an electro-acoustic dream of quiet desperation, sadness, and forever-lingering hope.
Delightfully disarming, in short. An unapologetically honest look at life, death, loss and separation as the vastly impactful events that they are. And musically sublime alongside it. A profoundly moving place to escape into for a while.