The Border of Ghosts
The laid back experience of The Border of Ghosts by Vancouver's Jeff Collins is a smooth Southern Rock ride through down tempo tracks and Americana grievances.
The feuding influences of grungy, Americana rock and dry, dark folk create a tasteful fusing of two like minded genres. Collins blends these two ideas into a 5 track release that covers more ground than an all night Greyhound ride. The opening track, "These Demons" begins as a quiet ballad, eventually peaking with a scarce but tasteful rock guitar solo. This leads into the true blues rock driven "If Occultists Knew", which is a stand out track in that it's unlike any other. It's driving rhythm sets it away from its down tempo counterparts. And from here we coast along the plateau to and at the eerie "Four Fourteen".
The crunchy guitars draw nicely into the acoustic elements and vice versa, breathing unexpected life into what could otherwise be some boring tunes. Collins' vocals, appearing both clean and raspy, really add more fuel to the songs and bring another interesting texture to the sound. I appreciate his creativity on this record, as well as the timeless song writing. The melancholic "Gothic" folk music works too well with the darker themes.
The Border of Ghosts is a 'rough around the edges' approach to the popular folk themes and is a well executed experiment in bringing together plenty of aspects of the wide Americana genre.
The Youth and Young E.P.
The Youth and Young
The Youth and Young E.P. is a folky pop disc from Edinburgh's The Youth and Young. The short album packs in a great variation of their sound, from driven and lively to serene, reserved, and melodic.
For the most part, TY&Y E.P. is an easy listen filled with smart lyrics and pop hooks. Its roots firmly planted in the indie/folk/pop genre brings a few key things to look for: female/male vocals split and with harmony, group "Oh's" and "Ah's", lots of snare drum, and a violin. All are present, and I just found them to be slightly underwhelming. I've heard the combination a hundred times and nothing stuck out to me to make me remember this band over the others. This doesn't void the record of the fact that it is catchy as hell, and well composed, but the band seems to take a well traveled path through this section of the folk forest.
I did, though, enjoy the abundance of sweet harmony and the parts of the album where it got loud, desperate even, and the emotion was more palpable.
This is a great first effort from an obviously talented band, and they will remain on my radar. http://theyouthandyoung.bandcamp.com/