On paper, the formula that makes Ghost Work tick is promising. Formed out of current and ex-members of popular acts Minus the Bear, Seaweed, Snapcase, and Milemarker, the band boasts an impressive cumulative track record and prolific output. These artists come from stylistic backgrounds across a wide spectrum of rock and alternative subgenres. From Grunge, Hardcore, Post-Punk, and Emo to Math Rock and even Electronica, Ghost Work’s sources are eclectic. Despite the clear diversity of their roots, the band combines in You’ll Be Buried With to put out a series of songs that can be described plainly as Indie-Punk, if they must be categorized.
Putting a dull conversation on genre behind, it’s hard to know what’s at stake in these tracks as a listener. They blend consistently one after the other: a matter of production as much as songwriting. Relative to tempo, guitar tone, structure, and eighth notes, it seems that if you’ve heard one tune you’ve heard them all. The choruses are consistently an opening out of tight, grittier verses, like emerging into a sunny clearing out of a dense forest thicket. A sense of freedom accompanies them as they arrive, and it’s definitely a good feeling, if a vague one. The vocals from Aaron Stauffer are airy and reminiscent of those from Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, a band from which Ghost Work takes serious cues.
A clear stand-out on You’ll Be Buried With is “Bricks of Sun,” whose striking chorus serves as the inspiration for the album’s title. It fades in with jittering guitars, leading to immersive verses and the triumphantly expansive chorus. Pauses in the drums at transitions accentuate its drama, and in this regard it is the album’s most accomplished track. “Bricks of Sun” is You’ll Be Buried With at its catchiest. Another highlight is “Statues in Spain,” where drummer Erin Tate of Minus the Bear veers away from the stability of the backbeat, creating movement around the beat that is a respite from the album’s almost exclusively forward-driven rhythms.
While Ghost Work’s first album may not be internally varied, it’s certainly a departure from the individual band members’ previous work, and they should be commended for it. With a larger-than-average following for a group’s first full release, expectations are high and will stay high as the band’s sound matures. Die-hards of Minus the Bear, Seaweed, Snapcase, and Milemarker should keep an open mind.