Little Ghost – Beneath The Surface – EP Review
And there it was…the world’s scariest word/location in music right now…Nashville.
For reasons I’ve outlined about a hundred million times at this page. No need to go into all that this time around. Thankfully.
Whereas the issue is usually trying to get to the heart of an artist produced so hard that the identity in the music is lost & sent into the same of sameness…somehow, Little Ghost seems to have avoided this issue entirely. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that, if the shivers that run down my spine in listening to the opening track “Everything You Hate” are to be any indication…I’ll remember this for quite a long time.
There’s something remarkably quaint and infinitely special starting here…something honest, humble, isolated, intimate…and actually rather charming in the music being made by Little Ghost, even with how heartbreaking, thought-provoking, and mired in melancholy emotions as it can quite often be. Almost reminds me of Mimicking Birds as “Everything You Hate” starts the record up gorgeously…you’ll find that the man behind the music, Dustin Sendejas, is able to contrast & mix emotions magnificently; quite often what you’ll hear in the sound of the song itself is nothing but true beauty shimmering & shining along the surface, but the deeper you dig into the lyricism you’ll find on this EP, the more you discover. Essentially…as beautiful & serene as things might often appear on Beneath The Surface, there are layers of insightful observations and complex thoughts, emotions, and feelings that give these songs exceptional depth. And for as small as some of these sounds & songs can seem, the impact by the way these ideas are presented, the way that the melodies of Little Ghost will cling to your bones & soul, is monumental by comparison. For every little addition to the songs you’ll hear on Beneath The Surface, there’s an equal emotional reaction taking place inside of the hearts, minds, and thoughts of listeners.
Like…LISTEN to these tiny little tunes will ya? I mean absolutely no disrespect in saying that – it’s actually praise here…there really aren’t too many songs, bands, or artists out there that are this level of delicate in the melodies they create – and I think you’ve really gotta hand it to Little Ghost for tapping into some serious magic on this EP. A song like “In The First Person” has such a beautifully exquisite melody to it, sweet indie-sentiment & imagery in the words, which are brilliantly written & even more perfectly expressed when it comes to the performance. Listen to the music, vocals, and harmonies of “In The First Person” and how each layer & sound interact and play off of each other, is like watching the rainbow beams of a prism…each piece on its own is stunning, but when combined, breathtaking really. Dustin has a remarkable voice and deserves a ton of credit for just how well these songs have worked out; quite often, he’s left with minimal sound surrounding him to work with – and yet you’ll find you never get bored, never want to skip ahead to the next song – you’re never anything less than captivated. I love the smart way he’s got the guitars drifting into this second tune with such a distant sound in the mix while the rest is right up close for us; again, it’s the little things like this where the ingredients might be minimal, but they’re all used to maximum effect. Dustin’s poetic lyricism comes through beaming here…the melody is golden and the way he’s chosen to sing this song fully reveals just how delicate he can be, yet how confident & bold he can become at those points most pivotal to making the song connect to us as listeners. Incredible instincts in this artist – and he absolutely nails his part on “In The First Person” – I couldn’t take my ears off of the guy as he sang this song.
A lot of what I’m really impressed with when it comes to the music of Little Ghost is the remarkable patience that’s on display. There’s no doubt that this dude can write a great song and melody – that’s clear as day on ANY of the songs throughout this EP – but listen to the way he approaches his performances, how smart the use of space is and how well these isolated moments in time really suit his sound. Whether it’s just the guitar or his voice carrying the song, what Dustin has got going on in Little Ghost is completely captivating at all times, making the absolute most out of a fairly minimal set of ingredients. You get a blend of beautiful Indie melody on “The Object, The End” and a whole bunch of gorgeous chord changes occurring in the gentle strum that drives the music on this gentle tune. Kind of reminds me a bit of that quaint feeling you might get from some of the most tender cuts from a band like Toad The Wet Sprocket or Snow Patrol as well…there’s a real songwriter in Dustin Sendejas, I have no doubt about it after everything I’ve heard here. I’ve been spinning this record as much as possible throughout this week, locked right into this incredible set of tiny tunes…”The Object, The End,” is just as much of a highlight on this EP as any other song, truly – you won’t find a flaw anywhere in this entire lineup.
As I mentioned earlier…the Indie crowd, the artistic & poetic crowd…those out there that truly enjoy emotion & expression in the music they listen to…you really can’t miss out on the Beneath The Surface EP. Listen to the lyrics of “Taipei,” the EP’s final song…and like…if you’re not somehow crunching a tear or two from this experience, I’d almost wager a bet that you’re like…I dunno…listening to this wrong. “Taipei” is exquisitely beautiful, heartbreakingly real, and full of those tiny details in the lyricism that Indie-music is infamous for…those insightful reference points that we connect with instantly and have us feeling like we’re right there in the moment as well. I mean, I’d be the last to say I could pin down exactly what’s taking place in the storyline 100% without a guess or two – but what makes these experiences on Beneath The Surface truly translate to us as listeners, from moment one, has been the sincerity found in the vocals, melody, and music – that’s what’s speaking to all of us, throughout this EP. A song like “Taipei” instantly invades the heart…the emotion in the vocals and sweet suspense in the music are an exquisite combination – and I love that I really can’t tell if this song is more happy or sad! There are a ton of moments where the observations & words are so beautiful…and so much emotion that hangs like a weight in the air…like listening to the sounds of hope and fearing that you might hear them be crushed right there in front of your ears. You want to protect a song like this for its fragile & delicate nature…and at the same time, you’ll find that it provides an odd comfort & warm glow of its own that seems to suggest Little Ghost is still fully in control of these mixed thoughts & emotions.
I know I’ve managed to write quite a few words here…but truthfully, I feel kinda speechless when it comes to describing just how I feel about this record. There’s not a thing out of place, nothing I’d change, and every reason to love it as far as my ears are concerned. I know I’m on record as being a melody guy…I know this particularly appeals to me…but I really can’t imagine everyone out there not being just as fascinated with the sound of these songs and of this EP by Little Ghost as I am.
Listen to Little Ghost at Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/album/57yqxLjD0fKI7y9SXZa12E
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