Presents Lovers & Ghosts
LOVERS AND GHOSTS (Rock Shock it! Records) Reviewed by Aaron Hernandez, Cactus Records --------------- Before things get better, it is said, they have to fall apart. Such seems the case with Lovers and Ghosts, an experiment in musical fusion that craftily combines several cases of love, frustration, fragility and loss into one of the most unique albums of the year. Nat Kendall, workaholic and MC in the hip-hop band Eightrack Mind) has produced a clever and catchy collection of songs along with Cy Ducharme, a 'city-born, jazz-trained, live-in motel manager'/singer-songwriter from Minneapolis. (Also along for the ride are bass-plucking Headnodic from Crown City Rockers and Illsauce's lovable DJ Maulskull). From the calm-during-the-storm introduction to the achingly melodic closing title track, this album sounds like beauty and the beast, highly replayable music made by men who have been both broken and blessed throughout their days. The first single, 'Think About That,' finds our boys wondering how so many humans have been able to turn a blind eye to the many injustices carried out by our leaders across the world. But musically, it comes off so happy-go-lucky that you might mistake a line like 'So let's all pretend that we don't really have to listen' as a rally towards optimism (or nihilism). Immediately following the think-for-yourself-tank of 'Think About That,' 'Diamonds' shifts gears, altering styles while retaining every bit of substance: a reggae-inspired guitar hook and wail from Ducharme keeps the listener at ease while Nat waxes poetic his inability to relate to current faux-hoppers and their obsession with shine and gleam. I could keep telling you how dynamic each track is, but what's most impressive about Lovers And Ghosts is it's cohesion. In just 7 tracks (a minute shy of a half-hour, only enhancing it's 'What was that? Play me more!' sensibility), ideas of hip-hop, indie rock, R&B, pop, soul and reggae permeate throughout, but it's all and none of those things. It's something else. Something pained, yet something strong. Cast aside, but definitely still here. This is a reflective, refreshing album made by the mended-hearted, for the mended-hearted. There is plenty on this earth to feel broken up about. But as is the case with Lovers And Ghosts, there is definitely a reason to feel better.