Back in 2018, we got our hands on the debut album Yesterday And The Day Before from the duo Roam Like Ghosts, which we found to be full of “skilled guitar artistry, bonafide vocal prowess, and fine production, [resulting] in the clean and pure sound of a studio project—while simultaneously capturing the magic of a live performance.” This year brings us the sophomore release from this talented twosome of singer/songwriter Mathew Daugherty and guitarist/songwriter Bucky Fairfax. ….to that place you call home is a further exploration of the poetic lyricism, purely intentioned, and acoustic rock base that are becoming their signature sounds.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
After the explorative, synth-heavy instrumental intro track aptly titled Before We Began, we’re given Memory of You as a brilliant introduction to the timbre of this new record. Acoustic driven, this track manages to walk the line between alt-pop and Americana in an extraordinarily cohesive way.
This kind of blend is a staple across this record. We see it in the driving rhythms of Disappear as they blend with the twang of the harmonica and the brightness of the vocals, and in the southern twang mixed with the heavy vocal effects of Sum of All My Wrongs. We even start to see them lean into the country angle on In A Moment. Perhaps the most enjoyable element of this kind of genre-mixing is that Roam Like Ghosts pulls different elements from each of these styles on many of these tracks. Despite the straightforward production, these varied elements keep the listener tuned in and keeps predictability at bay.
And speaking of the production, a unique feature of a record like this that utilizes simple instrumentation is its ability to completely change the feel of a track while only making small changes. This is particularly apparent on Find You, where the addition of the flute and lilting rhythmic elements gives it a classic folk feel, almost Celtic at times.
We also particularly like the poetic lyrics in The Great Unknown. The story of escape and freedom is as timeless as it is well-executed in this track, with its big, booming sound and melancholy melody echoing feelings of change and growth in a starry-eyed way:
“Please sign this waiver, and we’ll get out of here
We’ll pretend we’re pilots, on a rocket ship my dear
If your only excuse for leaving, is based on your fears
Close your eyes and pretend, as we leave the crowd cheers”
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
Sara is an ultra-catchy, uptempo number that seems to channel a bit of 90s energy in execution (perhaps a bit reminiscent of an upbeat take on She Talks To Angels). But the jangly guitars and inclusion of the harmonica once again give this track a folk-rock angle that permeates its entire sound. The melody here also does a great job of showing off the vocals of Daugherty, particularly bright and powerful in this instance. Top this all off with an unabashedly bluesy guitar solo at 1:40 and this is a genre crossover hit that will appeal to acoustic rock fans as much as it will resonate with Americana enthusiasts – a fairly complex combination, but it seems to come naturally to Roam Like Ghosts.
Powerful and straightforward; folky without being too soft yet alternative without being too eclectic. Fans of acoustic guitar music across quite a variety of genres will once again find refuge in the sound of Roam Like Ghosts. They’ve maintained their uncomplicated approach in this release, and the resulting music continues to highlight their strongest attributes. The band fully admits that this is not a “pandemic album”, as so many others in this time have chosen to create. That said, there’s plenty of allusion to things we could all use a little more of these days, right alongside things we’re fighting through. For a collection of stories of uncertainty, internal struggles, love and loss, a yearning for days gone by, and bright beginnings – …to that place you call home is all this and more in a cohesive and defined acoustic package.
BELOW: Listen to …to that place you call home by Roam Like Ghosts and connect with their website and social media platforms. Please support Roam Like Ghosts 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!
(Want to have your music reviewed on The Ark of Music? Click HERE.)