The Great American Holy Ghost Electric Show is the perfect title for this band’s debut album. The folks over at This Is American Music have again brought us something strange, new, and righteous. The record pulsates with wild imagery in the Southern Gothic style, mixing a very modern search for meaning in life with the blood and fire of the Old Testament. This six man band is at times a soul train running gleefully off the tracks, and a somber exploration of different ways to express melancholy and longing at others. There is no one song that would sum this band up, but any song is enough to make you want to see the band play live.
This is a rough album, and I mean that in the most literal way. The music is played from the heart. Each member of the band expresses themselves very clearly using their instrument, but clear does not translate to polished. They seem to be playing not just the song, but off of each other. The lyrics are raw, blunt and esoteric all at the same time. The instrumentation seems like an expression of the lyrics, and the lyrics feel like spoken word that would flow out regardless of the music underneath; two voices speaking in harmony instead of unison. I don’t know what it is about the children of preachers writing songs, but they all seem to have this distance, this worldliness, this fear of knowing so little about this world but too much about the next.
Around now is when I’d start calling out individual songs, but I don’t think that works this time around. The Great American is an album that is meant to be experienced as a whole, as a journey from start to finish. You get the impression that it isn’t meant to be completely understood by the audience, that there are some deep personal impulses at play. The weight of the record, more in the tone than in the music, can easily feel overwhelming and as such this isn’t a record that will stay on repeat for me, but that’s okay. Some experiences are meant to be given space, to be considered before they book is closed on them.
To sum up: Holy Ghost Electric Show is messy and forceful and a little disjointed, but driven and fantastic and new. Most of all, the music is fun. I won’t pass up a chance to watch them play, and you shouldn’t either.
‘And why do I take everyone so personal?
Tell me why do I take everyone so personal
I’m comfortable with my mortality
But I don’t think my mortality is comfortable with me’
As always, much love to This Is American Music.