Lusitanian Ghosts will release their self-titled album on June 8. “Past Laurels” is from this forthcoming release. The band, or more properly, collective, is made up of Neil Leyton (vocals, acoustic, guitar, bass), Micke Ghost (electric guitar, Amarantina), Joao Sousa (drums), Vasco Ribeiro Casais (Braguesa, Nyckelharpa), O Gajo (Campanica), Abel Beja (Terceirense), and Guillermo de Llera.
What sets the collective apart is their use of Portuguese traditional chordophone guitars, instruments descended from the European Cittern. The collective’s name – Lusitanian Ghosts – refers to the chordophones, which almost vanished through neglect.
The collective was founded by Leyton, a Portuguese-Canadian singer/guitarist. He played in The Conscience Pilate, with the glam rock group Dogs D’Amour, Crash Kelly, and Galore. In 2006, he released an album entitled The Betrayal of the Self; in 2008, he released a fans-only album called Metacognitive Apperceptions.
“Past Laurels” opens with delicate strumming guitars, followed by a potent alt-rock groove evoking apparitions of Led Zeppelin. Leyton’s voice carries the same expansive energy, the muscular timbres, and brisk bark of Robert Plant. He doesn’t sound like Plant, but the sonic discharge and sizzling electricity inherent in his voice is the same.
When the music ramps up, the rhythm pulsates with dynamic force while the textures of the guitars meld into a differentiated wall of sound that’s brilliantly dazzling. It almost as if three lead guitars are mirroring each other in a type of variegated antiphony. It sizzles with harmonic flavors kicking out embers of sonic sparks.
“Past Laurels” is indubitably excellent. Leyton’s voice radiates tumescent passion as the music builds, pauses, and then mousses up to actinic levels. This is a great song! If the rest of the album is half as good, it promises to be one of the best of the year.