Wednesday, October 3, 2012
REVIEW: The State Broadcasters - Ghosts We Must Carry
As we've noted before on these pages, some of the best Americana-shaded indie folk these days is coming from the UK. One stellar example is the new LP, Ghosts We Must Carry, from Glasgow's The State Broadcasters. Of course, this type of music doesn't jump up and grab your throat and shout "pay attention". It invites you to listen carefully and thrill at the deft little touches, which better prepare you for the well planned killer hook or understated home run lyric. So yes, The State Broadcasters make you do a bit of the work, but it is worth it and you'll be a better person for it.
The album deals with loss and sorrow and, as the title suggests, the fact that we carry ghosts with us throughout our lives, but in a way that makes you feel better at the end of it than the beginning. For all the sadness, you'll find a lot of joy, and perhaps a bit of salvation, in the music. Try tracks "Kittiwake" and "Trespassers" and see if you agree that great song craft can gilt the message for the listener.
The weight of the ghosts seems a bit heavier on songs such as "Where I Belong" and "The Writing's On the Wall". But the beauty of the music and the promise of redemption keeps the proceedings afloat. And the listener is reminded that masterful musicians understand that giving notes space can have more effect than increased volume.
It isn't my usual practice to post so many tracks. But I expect that many readers, particularly in the US are not familiar with the band, and I think it is a valuable service to display their range. And despite that, I am compelled to provide one more track -- an utterly captivating cover of Billy Bragg's "The Only One" I've never been able to play this one only once.
The six-piece The State Broadcasters is comprised of Graeme Black (guitar/vocals), Pete MacDonald (piano/trombone/vocals), Fergus MacDonald (guitar/banjo/accordion/ukelele/other effects), Gill Fleetwood (harp/vocals/other effects), Cameron Maxwell (bass/trombone/vocals), and Susan Appelbe (cello/percussion). The Ghosts We Must Carry is out this week on Olive Grove Records (link below)
Olive Grove Records