Ghosty has achieved several large feats since the band's inception six years ago.
The not only survived a horde of line-up changes, they've also managed to keep their creative focus throughout. And though this, their first full length album, was completed almost three years ago, Ghosty has somehow managed to keep people's interest since 2000's Five Short Minutes EP - namely with a few home recordings, downloadable MP3s, and some bitchin' live shows. And now they scored a label in Future Farmer to release their first official full length.
The band's nonchalant demeanor, coupled with Andrew Connor's harrowing, sprawling pop songs about self-consciousness and life lessons learned the hard way, have won over many a Lawrencian heart.
They seem to be open to new ideas to a fault, often utilizing a scrambled, prose-like song structure that can lose new listeners. However, this approach is pretty limitless and at times its results are unforgettable. The band has evolved more noticeably than any of their contemporaries, and of course, it never hurts to have a connection to the loveable caterwauling of Wayne Coyne (the Flaming Lips' frontman sings on a bonus track).
With that said, it's important to understand that "Grow Up Or Sleep In" is a representation of Ghosty three years ago, before they really grew up.
Original drummer Richard Gintowt (who writes for this publication -ed.) was still with the band at the time and plays on every song (he left in 2003). While Ghosty's present drummer Josh Adams lends a fiercer, busier approach to the band, Gintowt was steady and subtle, with a unique way of letting the space breathe. As a result, the band's delivery on "Grow Up..." is in sharp contrast to recent shows and recordings.
Grow Up or Sleep In
It's good to look back, though, especially on a song like "Henry Greene," the album's standout track. Not only is it a prime example of where the band is heading nowadays, it might still be Ghosty's best song. As a series of stand-alone melodies weave together into a surreal set of musical vignettes underneath his quietly angst-ridden lyrics, it becomes clear that Connor is a true talent.
"Grow Up..." has plenty of solid moments like this, such as the reverberated grandeur of "Hey! Somebody" and the sad meandering of "Jaqueline." At times, Ghosty seem to be trying a little too hard to be different, like on "Add/Drop City." The song contains about seven or eight different parts, leaving the listener thoroughly confused by the end. Although frustrating, in the end it's the sound of Ghosty trying to find itself, trudging through the hailstorms of obsessive precision and attempting to write a soundtrack to it.
"Grow Up..." may be slightly out of sync with present-day Ghosty (you can hear their latest mp3s on lawrence.com), but its quality is still not often matched. The album documents the solid progression of one of Lawrence's best bands. Thankfully the band chose not to sleep in, released the album, and now we can watch them grow up. B+