I have to admit to being late to the party in respect of the début EP from To Bury A Ghost Last. The Hurt Kingdom was released at the back end of 2010 and rightly got many good reviews, for it is indeed an impressive first outing for a band. TBAG finally came to my attention when they were announced as support for the wondrous Her Name Is Call for their first Bristol show on April 16 at The Croft – tickets from Bristol Ticket Shop and Gold Flaked Paint – hurry! Go buy!
I popped a copy of The Hurt Kingdom into my virtual basket at Big Cartel for a paltry four of your earth pounds and Lo! it arrived in really rather lovely packaging – CD in wallet with extra photo card all in see-thru over-printed sleeve tied up with string and a button badge to boot – nice job!.
The band has also just had a day or so down at Abbey Road courtesy of the BBC, having been successfully nominated for the BBC Introducing at Abbey Road masterclass – got to mean something, eh!
Anyway I promised a little bloglette about the EP and I have taken too long getting around to it. The opening track, Birthday, starts a bit like a modern day Also Sprach Zarathustra with trumpets, viola (i think) and an orchestral feel, later echoed again with the rolling piano arpeggios . The track feels a bit like an Overture previewing the sections to come, introducing the various facets of the band. You quickly get an appreciation of the strong and distinctive vocals of Jonathon Stolber and the bands general musicianship. This Leicester based three-some do undeniably, and perhaps regrettably (or is that just me?) have some superficial similarities with Muse – the vocal delivery and tendency to an ‘epic’ quality of the music and of course the fact that they are a 3 piece band (to state the bleedin’ obvious)
The second track, Coming Up for Air, feels much more like a single coherent piece – with a sustained vocal refrain and strong running base line plus a great ‘scrabbly’ guitar noise over the up front bass sound. Jaws of Love, the third track, has an instrumental melody line oddly reminiscent of the great Tortoise, and I personally might have liked a little more development before the key and mood shifts that get to be introduced from around the middle of the track and before a brief return to Tortoise-esque coda.
The fourth, and my personal favourite, track Beginning is the End is a fully instrumental track. I am not saying at all that I don’t enjoy the very distinctive vocals of Mr Stolber but this track feels the most developed, mature and considered. The track takes fewer ideas and builds them into something very satisfying and coherent where the key shifts feel like natural progressions. The added strings bring the required warmth to the track and the guitar work is a bit reminiscent of the blessed Mono and provides the swelling musical backdrop to the piece. Furthermore any band who puts in a bit of glockenspiel in a track has to be a good thing! More stuff like this track please, add some suitable vocals of the quality found elsewhere on this EP and it will be monster!
There is an extra tack, a remix of Coming Up for Air which is perfectly fine but I am not sure it adds much to the original track.
All in all this is a good EP, very strong, with abundant talent and musicianship. The sort of disciple and focus apparent on Beginning.. will only take them to yet better places and it will be very interesting to see how they take this to a live setting and I am very much looking forward to the HNIC show with them – promises to be a good evening
To Bury A Ghost – Beginning is the end