Since the conception of emo a handful of years ago in some hardcore kids garage its definition has never been written in stone, and because of this almost any new band that isn't nü metal is being thrown into the emo category. Based on this vague conception of an entire genre emo has basically had all the good bands (Weezer included) heaped together with the bad bands (its hard not to have a bad emo band). I have listened to many an album by what are supposedly emo bands and, as of late, the same thing is happening with this genre that happens to most others; the bands are all starting to sound alike. This basic form is a nasally male lead singer (The Rocking Horse Winner is about the only female fronted emo band I can think of) screaming and wining about his emotions and how much he loves/hates his (ex)girlfriend. I had given up all hope for emo until I sat down and listened to The Ghost's debut CD This Is a Hospital. This fantastic release has blown me away and renewed my faith in new music: It wasn't the same CD I had been hearing over and over, and added to that, this was a really good CD.
The first thing that anyone who listens to this album should notice, without even going into what the lyrics are saying, is that The Ghost are able to bring the intensity and emotion of a live show, and capture it on a studio album. This accomplishment is something that most bands only wish they could on a recorded album. Whenever a band can do this the album has the potential to become not only a great album, but even historic. I can only imagine what this band's live show is like. This intense sound might be due partially to the fact that some of the key players in the creation of This Is a Hospital were Steve Albini (Nirvana, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Pixies) and Walter Schreifels (Quicksand, Rival Schools). Quicksand coincidentally is one of the obvious influences of the band; playing the guitar powerfully from the heart can be heard on every track on this album. Other musical influences that can be heard are everyone from At the Drive In to Alkaline Trio.
This Is a Hospital is a very appropriate name for this album because the lyrics scream of suffering, pain, illness (both mental and physical), and disgust. "Bludgeon me with anything worth saying one thousand times/ Bury me in genius I'll welcome the suffocating lines," lead singer Brian Moss sends deep into the listeners soul as the opening lines of "Diffuser" is just one example of these such lyrics. The Ghost not only leaves everything out there with their lyrics but their guitar seem to have a pained voice of their own. The Quicksand influence reins true on most of the tracks on the album such as "Gem Mint Ten" where the song is guided almost more by the guitars than by the vocals, which is rarely seen in today's music. This band also knows how to bring themselves back down, and some of the true highlights on this album are shown through their musical ability on the slower tracks, "By the Books" (easily one of the best songs on the album), "A New Trick For an Old Dog", and "The Exhibition".
Based on the shear power of this album I would highly recommend it to anyone who listens to good music, but based on the possibilities and ability of this band I would recommend them and all of their future endeavors to anyone. There are very few bands that bridge the gap between hardcore and emo so that both audiences are equally happy with the representation of their respective genre. It is a very hard bridge to build since both audiences are traditionally extremely critical. The Ghost is one of the first bands in a long time that might be able to keep everyone happy, and keep their credibility while playing.
Jason Cipriano is a Staff Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.