Music Reviews

Artist: Reanimation (@)
Title: The Ghost of the Muse
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
You may recall Reanimation from the 'Under The Last Tree On Earth' album a few years back. It was a unclassifiable eclectic ear (rock) candy, and 'The Ghost of the Muse' is apparently set to eclipse it. While 'UTLTOE' was a moody, melancholic strange brew, 'The Ghost of the Muse' has a harder edge with more definition and less self-conscious introspection. Not to say the prior album didn't have its moments of punchiness (it certainly did), but there were a lot of aimless, passages that although atmospherically nice, seemed to lack focus. Some other things were just too repetitive. 'The Ghost of the Muse' opens strong with the rousingly psychedelic "Everything Is Not A Happy Ending," taking its time to build but by the time it gets to the chorus, it's smokin'. For some odd reason I'm reminded of Steve Hillage's work outside of Gong. The followup, "Tears Do Not Burn," is more straight-ahead, less obscured in purple-hazy guitar with a folksy harmonica sound on the riff and a post rock sensibility. Good track. "Silently Screaming" comes off like one of Brian Eno's softer (non-ambient) tracks, in a mellow melange of perfection, yet picks up steam as it goes along. Speaking of Eno, Michael Shanahan's (he who is Reanimation) vocals have never sounded more Enoesque than on this album. "Without You (Close Your Eyes)" has a repetitious chord backing throughout but never seems to get annoying. Shanahan seems to be becoming quite adept at writing these easygoing yet foreceful psychedelic numbers that in a fair and just world would be getting an awful lot of attention by now. But we all know we don't live in that kind of world, do we? "Plane Crash Smiles" is a frenetic psych trip that just soars over and above it all. Repetitive staccato piano chords are the backbone of "The Point of Collapse," and while not the best track on the album it has enough psychedelic fireworks to keep all but the most jaded interested. "Silently Screaming (Reprise)" ends the album, with acoustic guitar, and is a bit reminiscent of Pink Floyd. At 43 minutes this is kind of short for an album, but thankfully it's devoid of filler that many artists put in just to get an hours+ worth of material. The release is on (Limited Edition) vinyl, so maybe that has something to do with it. CD as well, for those of you lacking turntables. While the music (and vocals) on 'The Ghost of the Muse' is absolutely marvelous, there are some inherent problems; it sounds a bit too compressed and the vocals aren't as up-front as I'd prefer. According to the liner notes, "This album was recorded on a 16-track Korg MKII digital recorder. Each composition was improvised and layered one instrument at a time, often changing direction, until desired temperature and results were obtained." Maybe that had something to do with it, or perhaps the mastering, I don't know. An album like this really ought to POP in your ears. Still, it's a worthy purchase I'd recommend because I haven't heard a new psych album this good in a long time.

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