We last heard the brilliant songwriting born out of the group Karen Morand & The Bosco Boys this past April with their release of single Never Enough, which we found to be full of “high-level songwriting executed with clear musicianship that allows each piece of this track to come together to form a true musical masterpiece.“
Much to our excitement, the group is back with a full-length album including that aforementioned single. The nine-track Ghost Hotel is all of the satisfying, rich folk that one could ask for out of this immensely talented group, exploring complex ideas in the vein of being a societal maverick and other heart-wrenching topics that can accompany it.
“A ghost hotel is an Air BnB with no resident in an upscale neighborhood. Typically the neighbors don’t like having people coming and going all the time and wild parties. Simply put, these ghost hotels don’t belong.” – Karen Morand
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
Beautiful Scars continues this trend with its deep bluesy tones that slide into a driving rock feel as it progresses. Uplifting and firey, this track exalts triumph in the face of adversity, radiating power and confidence at every measure.
We perhaps toss a hint of an alternative sound into a classic blues when we arrive at Locked Down & Out. Close harmonies, spacey guitars, minimal percussion – it’s a modern sound and a textured sonic tapestry for the listener. Don’t miss the quick guitar solo at 2:15, while it may be brief, its simplistic soulfulness is a welcome inclusion in the track.
Evangeline brings a gentler, sweeter sound to the forefront. Featuring an angelic choir of harmonies and an optimistic feel, this track contains a wealth of the insightful and inventive lyric writing that we have come to look forward to from this group:
“A stranger once said to me “You’ll get tired of being angry”
Most of those I know promise me, one day I’ll let you go
And I gotta believe the grip of this anger
Won’t be the death of me”
We also love Neverland for bringing an otherworldly daydream to life, and closing track Coffee for its simple yet endlessly catchy hook, serving as an effective earworm of a conclusion for this project.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
We could still make the case that Never Enough is the most compelling track on this album, but we had plenty to say about it back in our April review. It’s surprisingly difficult to choose a favorite from the songs that remain due to the consistently high caliber of this project, but for several reasons, the title track is a stand-out moment. Ghost Hotel embraces a recognizable western twang and Americana rhythm. Morand’s vocals are immediately warm and genuine, a driving force of this introductory tune. Her constant, stellar vocal performances are a bright note on the entire album, but this track suits her timbre exceedingly well.
We dive headfirst into the theme here, asking early on “do I belong?“, and not finding a concrete answer. And it is in fact the smart, artistic word choice in each and every line that gives this track its power:
“Down here in this grand ol’ ghost hotel
I’m a guest and a ghost as well
Searching for my name on these hallowed halls – do I belong?
I’ve been hanging out in this sad graveyard
Forgot how to breathe when life got hard
Digging for them bones, them bones, them bones that rattle to life“
Need I say more? These are brilliantly crafted lyrics that illustrate and captivate as well as they play against the arrangement itself.
This album is pure poetry – you could simply read the lyrical content of this album and find yourself fully entertained and deeply involved in the moving, evocative stories that are present here. But when you add in the high-level musical skills from Karen Morand & The Bosco Boys, you find yourself fully immersed in the world of Ghost Hotel. It is a remarkable showing of talent and skill by a group that exudes chemistry and cohesivity across the board. Fans of authentic, gripping singer-songwriter style productions – do yourselves a favor and sit down and truly listen through this exceptional collection of songs.
BELOW: Listen to Ghost Hotel and connect with their website and social media platforms. Please support Karen Morand & The Bosco Boys by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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