Have you ever had that moment where a word is just out of reach on the tip of your tongue? The scientists got creative in naming that syndrome, giving it the technical term “tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon” – and this is exactly what I had for the first few listens to Ghostree’s self-titled EP, all due to Haydon Spenceley’s vocals.
At first, Spenceley threw me for a loop. By the eerie circus-like tinge found in the first song “Hope,” his vocal style was the last thing I expected. The longer the song went on, the closer I got to drawing that comparison I knew was stored somewhere in my iTunes library. After the song ended, I had it: Ghostree is the combination of mewithoutyou and Smashing Pumpkins. The dark sound, the weird vocals – everything lined up. Everything, that is, except the lyrics.
If the only thing Ghostree had were lyrics, they would be the equivalent of a gospel band. This alternative-rock UK-based band does not beat around the bush about their faith, but they make it less cheesy with their unique sound. The lyrics are all well written and paired well with the music. For instance, the second track “You They See” has a dark beginning that continues through the verses, yet the chorus picks up the pace by having a sing-along quality that would suit a youthful church.
Ghostree’s unique sound makes the blatantly Christian lyrics not hit as hard, and the contrasts between verses and choruses accomplish their goal of illustrating “the tension between hope and despair, between joy and sorrow, between love and loss.” It also opens up the whole Christian ideal to a group new to that scene by combining the sound with those lyrics.