Album Review: Ghost Vapors “The Valley of Ashes” (Score=91%)

By Alexis Simpson

ghostvaporsGhost Vapors is a musical project formed by Brad Jendza and Steve Swanson. Brad was kind enough to send me a copy of their album, The Valley of Ashes, and I am quite pleased that he did. Overall, I really enjoyed the album and added it to my mass of music that I listen to on a daily basis. Furthermore, Brad Jendza is a joy to watch live so I’m always open to listening to his musical projects. Great original work! Here is my first impressions track by track review. Find it on iTunes HERE

1. Hang Up Your Guns-Any song that talks about “choking on mastodons” is fine by me! This is a catchy and bouncy rock song that is perfect for opening an album. The song switches gears after 2:15 and showcases some great guitar work later on in the song. The only teeny tiny thing I’d change is the “radio” dude talking at 2:15. :)

2. Scars To Hide-I dig the easy-going instrumentation and simple lyrics. Those things bring a sincerity to the song that makes it work.

3. Robot Girlfriend-Uh-oh a robot song. We are especially tough on robot songs. I think it’s because as a child Styx’s Mr. Roboto song got on my last damn nerve. To date, the only robot song I like is Beastie Boy’s “Intergalactic.” Therefore, despite there being nothing intrinsically wrong with this song, I am pre-disponisioned to not like this song. I do recognize it might be fun to perform live though! :(

4. We Are Lost-Beautiful intro, and love the lyrics. Vocally the song brings back to older times, but that’s what I like about this song. Earnest. And who can’t relate to being lost and over-medicated these days?

5. Exit-This track is a short musical interlude that highlighting someone’s exit from this world…Interesting. If this track was placed at the end of the album, it would have quite an impact because it would be like saying goodbye in a dramatic albeit depressing way. It’s probably better placed where it is:)

6. Arc Of Descent-Another song about being lost. I like it. It’s dreamy and a little trippy. Relaxing.

7. Astronaut-Hmm, an astronaut song-what a great analogy for life and fab idea. I can’t really think of too many astronaut songs other than REM’s “Moon on the Moon” which is more about conspiracies. The song is a little repetitive, but it’s clever.

8. The Ballad of George Dickel-One of the things I like about this cd is that it’s musically diverse with songs from different genres of music. This is a fun ‘lil track that is one of my favorite off the album. What’s that I hear, a ukelule? I think it would be entertaining to sit around with these musicians and sing songs:) Fave track of the album! Quirky love song.

9. Give In To This-Solid rock song.

10. Tomorrow’s Just The Same-I dig their style and vibe on all their songs. Easy-going, surprising instrumentation with interesting lyrics.

11. Lifeboat-A song about survival-It appears that the theme is this album centers on carrying on in this crazy world.

12. Amputated Phantom Limbs-Solid track. The song writer certainly shows creativity when choosing subjects to write about on this album such as mastodons, robots, astronauts, and phantom limbs! Very imaginative!

Score=11/12

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