New York has a long history of pumping out gut-wrenching, powerful rock bands. From Kiss to Type-O-Negative to Patti Smith, it has been a city of eclectic musical offerings.
Ghosts of Eden are following in that fine tradition of bands who emblazoned their names across the skyline of Gotham. Their first E.P. Ignorance and Lies has been garnering them attention from all over the globe. Even EspyRock magazine in the UK wanted a piece of this new hard-hitting rock band — and this, their first E.P., has only been out since January.
Ignorance and Lies is a self-produced four-track E.P. that showcases the bands rough-as-silk vocal harmonies, as well as their dual power-guitar playing and percussive expertise. The individual musicianship of the members is obvious from the first heart-thumping beat of "Eliot Ness."
Each member stands out on every track. You can hear them distinctly, yet they manage to pull it all together with a cohesion that allows them to complement one another without competing for attention. For a young band's first endeavor, there is nothing amateurish about this fledgling production. As musicians they seem to understand and appreciate one another's strengths. You'd be hard-pressed to find fault with their technique or with their passion.
It's not even a slightly subtle thing when you hit the play button on Ignorance and Lies — the first word out of your mouth is rock! The very next word is blues. That's just how fast you realize that this band is no shit. They get it. They slap you right in the face with some bad-ass blues riffs, and then hit you resoundingly from the other side with hardcore, grungy rock and roll. It’s the kind of one-two punch that Clapton, with the aid of Duane Allman, managed on "Layla." A rare gift indeed.
"Capsize" features drumming that literally nails you to the wall. There is an intricate weaving of drum, guitar and spanking bass throughout that even Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers would be proud to claim. But it's the drumming that stands out. Driving, then releasing, the master of the drum kit has taken the helm this time and the results make this song a veritable powerhouse of raw vocal wailing and thrusting, punching drum explosions.
"Even Violence" is another variation on the classic grunge rock sound. There's a strong symmetry there with bands who have withstood the vagaries of fickle pop radio like Bush and Seven Mary Three. Like the other three tracks on this E.P., it promises to hold its mettle, and its relevance, over the long haul of time.
"Heartbreak Crutch" is my personal favorite on the E.P. It has the kind of build up and hook chorus that made it stick in my head long after I had turned the player off.
Although Ghosts of Eden classify themselves as a rock/grunge/ alternative band, I really think indie rock just about covers it. The songs are definitely radio-friendly, yet meaty and robust.
There is nothing in the way of pop music on this E.P. — it's better-suited to stand alongside the likes of Audioslave, Soundgarden, Bush, Papa Roach and Alice in Chains. Ghosts of Eden have proven a skill for pulling influences from the larger fabric of grunge rock, yet they are able to assemble it in a way that is unique, entirely. And recognizably their own.
As of now Ghosts of Eden are unsigned, but I predict that it won't be long at all before the record label bidding wars begin. If I have any advice for these newcomers, it would be to take a cue from Shaun Mullins. The local radio airplay of his self-produced single "Lullaby" started a bidding war that left him sitting in the driver's seat. He got a hefty contract on one meager, trendy pop song with not much to back it up. But then, he didn't have an arsenal of talent like Ghosts of Eden.
Make no mistake, this may be a young band, but they have a strong talent in songwriting and vocalizing, and their musicianship is absolutely solid. This E.P. has settled into my CD player and it won't be budging for the rest of the summer. Ghosts of Eden is a band that you're sure to be hearing about a lot in the near future. They are poised for launch.
Have a listen to the song “Eliot Ness” from Ghosts of Eden’s Ignorance and Lies and judge for yourself. With one listen I'm sure you'll be just as blown away as I was. With two listens you won't be able to stop pushing the play button.