8.30.2007

New Noise :: Band of Horses, "Is There a Ghost?"

As good sir Tug and I are people who know people, we were fortunate enough to have heard some of the Band of Horses demos that Ben Bridwell and company did in Columbia a while back. (No, we don't have any MP3s.) Even back then — and again seeing it performed live in Charleston — I remember being monumentally underwhelmed with "Is There a Ghost?" It's not that it's a bad song; on the contrary, it has all the soaring vocals and chiming guitars characteristic of Everything All the Time. But "Is There a Ghost?" is a curious lead track from Cease to Begin. I'll look beyond the annoyingly erroneous tense shift in the chorus — "But when I lived alone / Is there a ghost in my house?" (italics ours) — and focus on the fact that "Is There a Ghost" is just plain boring. Much of the reason I enjoyed Everything All the Time was its impressive use of dynamic tension, something entirely lacking from "Is There a Ghost?" Everything has a lifeless quality, from the uninspired, fourteen-word lyrics to the half-assed guitar solo in the coda. Look, I get it; you guys like Crazy Horse. But at least Neil kept it interesting.

That said, I'd like to say that what I've been privileged to hear from Cease to Begin is much, much awesomer.

[Ed.'s Note: An eagle-eared (???) reader notes: "The tense shift isn't erroneous. 'I could sleep / when I lived alone' --past tense because he was alone but now he's not. Now he's wondering if there is a ghost in his house." I had erroneously heard a "but" in the latter line. That said, I still the song kind of blows.]

Band of Horses — "Is There a Ghost?"

edited at 12:41 p.m. on 09.14.07.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I disagree...Yeah, it's not going to set any records for new territory, but it's quite an album opener...especially the first minute and a half a capella...but i'm not sure it was the right single...

JB said...

Great track. Heard it first on SubPop Records podcast then looked for more.

Anonymous said...

The tense shift isn't erroneous.

"I could sleep, when I lived alone."--past tense because he was alone but now he's not. Now he's wondering if there is a ghost in his house.

get it?

patrick said...

hmm. interesting point, anonymous. i had erroneously heard a "but" before the "when i lived alone" line.

that said, i still think the song's pretty ass.

drneon said...

Yeah I disagree too...

I liked ABOH's new stuff. They are slowly move from the My morning Jacket style towards a more refined and personal sound.
Cheers!