An enjoyable expedited experience for every ear.
Sorry, I'm in the mood for alliteration.
Skitzo Calypso may be a name new to you, but they've been around since 1996. Originally created as a solo project for singer/guitarist, Brad Cox (check out his new solo project We Love The Underground), it eventually morphed into a concerted group effort. Ghosts is the most recent product of this effort, audibly built by Cox, lead guitarist Bryan Holmes, drummer Gary Holmes, and bassist Zeke Johnson. While not very lengthy, one shouldn't be hasty to judge this EP as falling short. The five tracks here tease us with the future of the band, providing a small window in which to view the road they hope to take.
"We live in a dead world!"
This isn't a happy album. The ghosts that the album title refers to are not the friendly, Casper-kind. While the music gets surprisingly upbeat, lyrically the record is littered with tragedy. “Dead World” starts us out, which features a guitar passage that wanders around and flows back into itself, sucking us further down into the music while Cox tells us of the emotional deadening he has seen and experienced in the world. This theme of disconnection and numbness continues throughout this small collection, taking on new guises as the musical background changes from one song to the next. “Love Is The Enemy” displays this theme perfectly, featuring start-stop crunch guitar rhythms following a galloping drum intro. The Holmes brothers really complement each other well, with Bryan playing flowing melodic passages and Gary pushing him to keep up with his own speed and power. Drumming on albums, outside of jazz, really doesn't get much recognition, but Gary really impressed me on this release. Not only is he tasteful, but the songs are diverse enough to allow him a colorful palette to display his talents. Johnson fills up the low end nicely, and I like his fretboard dance as the bridge ends in “Stardust” in particular. One can't overlook Cox, who is a great singer with an interesting voice. He caresses every note, giving them each his full attention. While sometimes he reaches too far for his range, as he does in “Stardust”, it's a minor concern – the song continues to remain my favorite track here.
An EP is normally a prelude to a new full-length record. As Ghosts was released in January of 2012, my question becomes, “Where is the album?” The EP is a great, little taste of things to come, but one feels like Skitzo Calypso should have capitalized on the momentum by recording and releasing something else by now. At the time of the release, they even included three free downloads available from their website. Why were these tracks – all of which are great – not included on Ghosts as well? Perhaps I'll have a chance to ask them in the future, as I already attended one show of theirs and expect to attend another when I get the opportunity. Until then, I have this small offering to enjoy, as well as seventeen years of past releases to savor. Just don't keep me waiting, eh fellas?
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