"Ghost Notes" - Big Takeover Review

It’s not hard to see why Neil Young would want this new L.A. group for his Vapor capers. This is the sort of mostly mid-tempo, rustic-hued, Americana-tinged organic/edgy guitar rock he and older L.A. mates perfected 35-40 years ago—brought back with patient riffing majesty, timeless soul, and importantly, inspired singing. That last bit comes courtesy of smoldering-looking/sounding Russell Pollard, late of Louisville, KY, well-recalled in this mag as the final drummer for Sebadoh when last we interviewed them circa 1999’s swansong The Sebadoh, as well as helping Lou Barlow’s side-project Folk Implosion, Earlimart, Alaska!, and The Watson Twins (he’s married to Chandra Watson, lucky bugger). His combo contains similar salient sidemen, veterans who know enough to record analog (hurrah!) using vintage gear in Pollard’s late friend Elliott Smith’s old haunt in the Valley, New Monkey Studio. With superlative warmth from producer Mike Terry, Ghost sashays with small-s supernatural shimmer, a modern subtext for its classic pop behind Pollard’s terrific vocals—not far from what you love in Mojave 3, Barlow’s underrated Emoh, Smith, and even the yeoman, eternal Young himself. From the acoustic-crisp folk-isms of “Trees” “Taking on the Future,” and “Angry Storm,” to the Wilco-fied bounce of “Into Your Soft Heart,” to the more urgent standout “Reload,” Everest requires no sherpa to navigate their ascension—just a pair of ears. (vaporrecords.com)