Review: Ghostpoet – Some Say I So I Say Light
Published on May 10th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Peanut Butter and Melancholy Jam, the title of Ghostpoet’s first album, neatly summarised three of his primary traits: playful humour, constant references to food and, last but not least, a heavy dose of desolation. Factor in his gruff, friendly voice and fascination with electronics, and you could perhaps describe him as a depressed-sounding Roots Manuva. This, however, would do little justice to the compellingly dark furrow that he continues to plough on Some Say I So I Say Light.
Opener “Cold Win” refers to butternut and French fries within its first minute, doing so over a mechanical, propulsive beat that leads us into stormier waters where ominous horns and the solemnly delivered line “I need to go back before the sun goes down on my heart” trample down the glee that would otherwise be inherent in utterances like “I feel like Maximus in, er, you know, that film”.
Ghostpoet sheds further light on his troubled mind in “Them Waters”, a bumpy ride through a cold, paranoid wilderness. Here there are mentions of going a week without opening the mail, not wanting to think too much lest he open unwanted floodgates and, while waiting for a train, hearing “those voices calling me again / And I don’t wanna go down that road again / ‘Cause it causes too much pain”. The ‘train of thought’/CBT elements of that latter tableau may or may not have been intended but it’s affecting stuff either way, as is his numbed appeal to “send me down the Thames”.
Lucy Rose’s sweet vocal provides a beautiful counterpoint to Ghostpoet’s ever-pleasing drawl on “Dial Tone”, the music of which takes compelling twists and turns while remaining decidedly harrowed-sounding, before “Plastic Bag Brain” lightens the mood with a coolly skipping combination of drums and guitar. Certainly the musical aspects of Some Say I So I Say Light shouldn’t be overlooked: “Sloth Trot” is shrouded in guitar feedback, “Dorsal Morsel” bathed in the light of its blissfully shimmering keys, while “Msi Musmid” manages to sound like a bad mushrooms trip inside an old computer game.
It’s the likes of “ThymeThymeThyme”, though, that ultimately dictate the overall impression of the album: its creeping, buzzing oddness serves to emphasise the late-night contemplation expressed by the lyrical likes of “Maybe it’s time to find out where I really want to be” and “Well darling we tread this road a million times / And my feet can’t take no more / Baby it’s time”, the kind of ambiguous lyrics that could conceivably be significant or throwaway. It’s up to you to read into them as much or as little as you like.
A barrel of laughs it may not be, but Some Say I So I Say Light is one of the more thoughtful, complex and satisfying LPs we’ve encountered this year.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!
Some Say I So I Say Light is out now on Play It Again Sam.
For more information, please visit the official Ghostpoet website.