The sound of classic rock never really dies regardless of how often some may try and claim its demise.
Like Mark Twain it could equally lay claim to the quote that “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
There are of course times that it may take a backseat to what is being promoted in the mainstream, but most people are well aware that any slow ebb in popularity normally just precedes a fresh flow.
In a sense you could say that as a genre it never says goodbye, but instead just winks a casual au revoir as it knows in time its coming back around to do what it does best.
Some have claimed that it is being a bit tardy on its return, but maybe they should consider waking up and smelling the coffee as right now there is a vanguard of talent already crashing onto the beach with acts such as The Temperance Movement, and touring mates The River 68s, garnering rabid plaudits with every gig they play, and now after years of slogging it out and paying their dues we have the equally talented, and entertaining, Holy Ghosts looking to release their debut album and carve themselves out a space in the wider public consciousness with their own original material.
With just weeks to go to the launch of “Ride Them Down” it can be comfortably said that they haven’t stumbled in delivering on all the promises they had made either.
Every box is ticked; every step has been carefully placed, and as debuts go this is as good as it gets.
With bands like The Rolling Stones and the Faces you could argue that they took a few albums to get into the swing of things and for them to take more control of their destinies, but that was then and this is now, and what you can hear from the opening track “Leave No Stone Unturned” onwards is The Holy Ghosts hitting the ground running.
The country twang that Gram Parson brought to Exile On Main Street is there, but the band are far from being a weak facsimile of another acts former glories as this is a vibrant modern take on a classic sound.
Let’s just say that no one in the Holy Ghosts is looking to re-enact the summer of love, or even looking to root what they do too heavily in the past.
Instead with each song it becomes obvious that as a band they are genuine music fans who have allowed themselves to partially subscribe to a magpie tendency and take the best bits of what they love and bring them forward into the present, but only if they can be framed within their own vision of who they are.
“Devil On Your Side” is a prime example of this.
The shadows of Neil Young and Steve Earle loom large, but fail to swamp the band in their shade.
It’s in this ability to maintain a balance between their influences and their own approach to song-writing that the magic may well lie.
There’s so much that is reminiscent of material we have heard before that the songs can comfortably bed in and then start revealing more of themselves as the listener allows the band to lead them to where they want them to be, and that’s keyed into what they are doing rather than what their heroes did.
As an introduction it’s safe to say that The Holy Ghosts have put their best foot forward, and it’s doubtful that after anyone listens to “Ride Them Down” that they would consider the future will be anything but rosy for them.
I would suggest that people get in early and enjoy the ride they are on.
No matter how good I claim this to be it will fall short of really conveying how good it really is.
Words sometimes just fall short of doing that, and this is one of those times.
A stunning debut in ever sense.