Artist: Must Be The Holy Ghost
Reviewer: Briana McDonald
For fans of: The xx, Tycho, Beaty Heart
From the moment I read the bio for Must Be The Holy Ghost, I was intrigued. Any artist coming out of North Carolina, my home state, had to have music twinged with the stereotypical acoustic guitar – or banjo, if I was unlucky enough – and a southern drawl. But an electronic artist? In Winston-Salem? I decided, on the contrast of genre and location alone, that I’d love to review their new album. I’m thrilled that I made that decision. Overflow, Must Be The Holy Ghost’s sophomore work, is a hypnotic audial masterpiece.
The first track, “Melt Down,” begins the album what could only be described as boldly, starting with a simple electric guitar melody before diving into heavy, distorted riff territory. Singer and instrumentalist Jared Draughon’s voice is reminiscent of classic rock, but it doesn’t stop this song from coming across as modern and experimental. Once the harmonies begin, the listener is hooked – and probably headbanging. It’s a strong start to Overflow, going even further than drawing the listener in; despite being seven minutes long, this song demands that they listen to every second.
The second song on Overflow, Forest, starts out much more mellow than the previous song, offering a welcome contrast. Nearly the entire first half is instrumental, and Draughon’s faraway voice cuts through the track. He repeats the same lines throughout the song, but the imagery and interest that the instrumental creates prevents the song from being repetitive. It almost flows into the next track, which begins with a declaration: “The war has begun.” “All Night” is almost calmer than “Forest,” painting of a picture of what could be a nighttime escapade or a heart-wrenching breakup. The percussion is heavy, weighing down on the listener in a way that gives emotion and meaning to the few lines that the song contains.
Being a nineties kid means that I haven’t had much experience with eighties rock, but the moment I clicked on the play button for “Might Crack” I was taken back to that one scene in Stranger Things where Jonathan lets Will hear that iconic song by The Clash. But rather than breaking up the EP and sending the listener back to the past, this track simply places each song onto a spectrum, showing the ability of Draughon to create nostalgia even in electronic music. “Don’t look at me the wrong way; I might crack,” Draughon pleads with his listener. “Keep Taking the Medicine,” the fifth song, is another on Overflow that carries nostalgia. The heavy guitar, synth, and crunchy and distorted drums make this track dark and introspective, seemingly wanting to deal with unintentional addiction but not knowing how to cure it.
The last song on the album is “I Know You Know,” bringing Overflow full-circle by having those timeless elements of classic rock while maintaining the experimental element. But, unlike any of the other tracks, this one relies on Draughon’s voice to support it, not introducing instruments besides the synth until halfway through the song. Though not as dark as the previous track, it’s a mournful song, putting an end to a relationship that no longer has any life. Draughon’s voice floats away in an echo, leaving the listener to wonder how almost thirty minutes have passed so quickly, and when they can set aside thirty more to experience the album all over again.
Overflow releases officially on September 16, through Cardigan Records. Following the release is a 21-date tour across the States. Watch Must Be The Holy Ghost’s video for their first single, “Melt Down,” below.