Album Reviews

Hail the Ghost – Forsaken – Album Review


Album Review: Hail the Ghost – Forsaken by Killian Laher

Irish three piece Hail the Ghost have just released their debut album. The brainchild of singer Kieran O’Reilly (fresh from a stint in Love/Hate), what we have here are ten brilliantly crafted, well-recorded melancholic songs, all of which contain echoes of The National. This, ostensibly, is a good thing. Opener Nostalgia contains all the slow-burning elements which should bring this band to a much wider audience. O’Reilly’s vocals are delivered in a smooth, half-awake baritone, again not a million miles away from National singer Matt Berninger. Recent single Colony of Ants is in a similar vein, with percussion ebbing and flowing, driving the intensity back and forth.

Ian Corr’s keyboards are prominent throughout, especially on anthemic tracks like Gabriel, reminiscent of Dakota Suite at their most upbeat, and last year’s Headstoned, which combined with Eamonn Young’s faint growls of electric guitar would have fit in well on High Violet. Lazise takes its cue from the ticking of a clock, adding instruments gradually, and the sparser White Heart and stripped-down acoustic strum Drift are all very tasteful. Low Lying Fog is the most naggingly urgent song here, O’Reilly sounding almost damaged as he croons “I’m crawling beneath my low lying fog to breathe” evoking early Cure.

It does get a bit same-y after a while, all ten tracks conjure up a similar mood without much variety. All of them are of a pretty high quality, ten tracks with ten strong melodies and proper choruses. However there isn’t the transcendent tune that really stands out from the whole. If they can escape a certain other band’s shadow, this band could gain recognition on a national (small n) level.

1. Nostalgia
2. Colony of Ants
3. Ink & Blood
4. Gabriel
5. Headstoned
6. Even Judas
7. Lazise
8. Low Lying Fog
9. White Heart
10. Drift

Colony of Ants:

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