Thus far in its illustrious career, New York act The Holy Ghost has created some fine music amongst its previous three releases – a full-length and two EPs chock full of intense, entrancing guitar rock that sounds like Britt Daniels singing and writing songs for the Afghan Whigs. Welcome to Ignore Us continues the band’s tendency to stray from its previously established sounds, and the result is once again a strong release that’s able to throw out a few surprises while sounding distinctively like The Holy Ghost.
Of the band’s four releases, Welcome to Ignore Us actually carries the weight of being The Holy Ghost’s most accessible recording to date. While the songs themselves are quite catchy and memorable, the performances themselves are still the drawing point. Christopher Dean Heine’s voice winds and wails along like a scruffy, drunken Bono, while guitarist Alec Ferrell continues to create a niche in the world of making it sound like he’s yanking and beating his rhythms and leads out of his guitar more than actually playing them out (a la the Pixies). The rhythm section is tight as ever, as well, as bassist Kent Heine and newfound drummer Angela Webster throw down some seriously strong grooves behind the guitar and vocals.
Accessible? Sure thing. However, Welcome to Ignore Us does accessible The Holy Ghost way. The album-opening “Commercial” features a simple, sing-along chorus and an awesomely punctuated rhythm riff, though Ferrell’s shredding solo sounds like he’s literally punching his guitar to get the notes out. “Genghis Khan” has a bit of dirty funk appeal to it, with a slinky bassline building up into a horn-accompanied chorus, while the strangely catchy “Chez Paree” carries a bit of a dirty, funky little swagger to it as well. The band seems strongest when it goes balls-out catchy, though, such as on the amazing pop nugget “Graciana Ole” or the gritty “Jiggle,” which sounds like something the Rolling Stones could’ve put together in the early 70s (complete with requisite horns and everything, a la “Bitch”).
Of course, the band still has its share of sublime moments, as well. Heine’s vocal intonations on “Did I Wear U Out?” are as rock star as it gets, though “40 Winks” turns around with a low, slinky rhythm that sees the singer come off like some sort of demented lounge singer. The almost-ballad “Pyramid” serves as the disc’s best listen, though, with Heine offering up his most noticeably emotional vocal delivery over a slowly throbbing rhythm. The chorus is eerily memorable, as Heine croons, “You took ten years to build / A thousand steps to get around / You’re a pyramid in my town,” over a muted backing track. Newest bandmember Webster proves she’s more than just a capable drummer on this track, as her impressive backing vocals during the last minute or so are done in an alarm sounding, strongly wailing manner that adds a sense of mystery to the song.
Once again, The Holy Ghost has put together a collection of solid material from beginning to end. After three great releases, the band has just now put out what is arguably its best release yet with Welcome to Ignore Us. Hopefully this record garners The Holy Ghost the major attention the band’s deserved for a few years now – recommended to the highest degree.