By Ryan Alex
Few bands in the current indie scene combine melody, energy and fun as well as Sleeping in the Aviary. From the upbeat opening chords of “Talking out of Turn” to the slow, melodic, feedback-drenched ending of “A Pathetic Housewife Remembering Her First Martini” the album, You and Me, Ghost by the Wisconsin trio is all around impressive.
The album really stands out from their earlier releases, mostly in terms of production value and the complexity of the music. It still features their classic garage sound, but they manage to add fresh elements to the style that weren’t as prevalent in their earlier releases. It adds things like doo-woppy back up vocals, tempo shifts, sudden stops (which Micheal pulls off perfectly), as well as tremolo guitar, keys, funny lyrics and flanger. They all come together to make this garage rock album far more interesting than the releases from other bands in this genre, who shall remain nameless.
Fan’s of the band have some to expect major changes in sound from album to album and You and Me, Ghost is no exception. This album is less acoustic than their first full length, Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Motel, more upbeat than their sophomore album, Great Vacation, and not as punk as their third album, Oh, This Old Thing, however they manage to reuse the elements they liked from their older albums and put them throughout You and Me, Ghost. For example, the second song “Love Police” would fit right in with their fast-tempo songs on Oh, This Old Thing. However their “punkier” songs on this release show off a lot more guitar chops than Oh, This Old Thing, like the riffs on “So Lonely” and “Someone Loves You”.
Also, the band has a renewed sense of melody that fans heard in Great Vacation and Expensive Vomit… which you can best hear on “Talking Out of Turn” and slower songs such as the title track. The melody is mostly a result of Elliot’s impressive vocal work. He can do a punk rock sneer, “Love Police”, just as well as he can actually sing “Molly” (think of Iggy Pop infused with Dr. Dog). The same can’t be said for too many other garage rock bands. Phil’s keyboard and bass parts on songs like “Infatuation” and “Are You Afraid of Being Poor” really help make them go from being good rock songs to fleshed out anthems.
The best thing about this garage rock band is there not just a garage rock band, You and me, Ghost has several songs that you wouldn’t expect on a garage album or even a Sleeping in the Aviary album. Such as the hauntingly melodic Wilco-ish “Are You Afraid of Being Poor?”, or the doo wop-dream pop (yes, you read that right) of “A Pathetic Housewife Remembering Her First Martini”, both sound like music from before garage rock. Even lyrically the album veers away from the common subject matter of garage rock which mostly focuses on partying and girls who lie. For example the comedic and catchy “Karen, You’re an Angel”, which is about a couple when there young and when there older, features lyrics like “We have teens now and a house in boulder/Now you’re saggy, you wear a one piece/I have nose hair.” So as you can see there really is something for everybody, buying this album is most likely not a decision you’d regret.