by Ryan Doyle Elward
Perfectly syrupy vocal echoes and shimmering chords effortlessly resurrect an atmosphere of a warmer season long past in the mid album track “Get a Feelin” off San Francisco group Cool Ghouls’ second release A Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye. Atypical considering imminent bleaker months ahead for those listeners outside The Golden State, although positive, glowing vibes might just serve as an ideal remedy.
Spilling vocal harmonies topple over lightly fuzzy tones on the first track of the album, “And it Grows”, igniting familiar and friendly feelings. A bit heavier, “What a Dream I Had”, lights a robust fire of it’s own, highlighting the signature jangly roots of Cool Ghouls’ influences.
Bouncy, single coil sounds dance behind catchy melodies and part lips for a smile in the wake of an extremely listenable album. As opposed to traversing genres entirely, progression in this instance might best be described in terms of forward movement through successive years within the same genre. Cool Ghouls’ self titled previous release exemplified certain late 1950s and early ‘60s structure and sound, while recent material sits adjacent mid to late ‘60s trends. That said, being an album characterized by resurgence, A Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye seems to have juiced past elements properly and discarded the pulp, leaving only clean and sweet remnants of an era to flourish.
Joviality aside, there are certainly couched undertones of a mature discussion throughout the content of this album. “Reelin’” reveals the album title in allusion to a fire rapidly spreading as a reference to societal growth and other such issues corrupting San Francisco.
However, seriousness lessens in the actual sonic output of the album, leaving plenty of opportunity for a darker effort in the future. Cool Ghouls has successfully outlined weightier material on one front, but it’d be interesting to see that perspective move into the realm of sound as well.