There never seems to be any kind of love lost for the hard rock sound that generated some of the greatest hits of the 90s. Absinthe Junk doesn’t certainly feel the need to ignore it in that their music benefits in what appears to be an almost direct second coming of that wave of music. On Living Ghosts, their brand of rock doesn’t necessarily disappoint but it also doesn’t really offer up anything new at the same time.
Even though their lead singer, Blair, is something of a wunderkind on various instruments, it is her voice that is at the center of this act. Evanescence seems to be the most obvious comparison but somehow, Absinthe Junk seems to feel a little more authentic for some reason. Even “Assassin (Someday)” and its storming guitars and even harsher tones find a redeemable quality of the music Sleater-Kinney made and Blair’s voice sounds in trouble throughout. She’s definitely giving it her all – even when the music seems to curtail off – she is out for the kill.
In being not only a trained jazz saxophonist and an orchestral composer, it is Blair’s creativity that drives the band to a certain degree of effectiveness. The music needs to be a little more originally crafted and surely, the skill could improve through more rehearsing and more performing but one thing you can’t say about it is that it isn’t trying. The band is always finding a good mix of balance where every voice is felt and the drums are often sounding composed and forceful in filling the space with rapid drums; “Road to Damnation” even finds the band employing some kind of Middle Eastern sounds to their music. The violin is the most surprising inclusion and yet, it’s what makes it Middle Eastern to begin with, so it makes all the more sense.
At a crisp six songs in lenght, the music on Living Ghosts conveys more than enough music to capture what Absinthe Junk are all about. Solid, good music that is developed for the sturdy night at the bar where everyone can just sing out loud, as loud as they want. And while that isn’t a dismissible opinion in the least, it is one that calls for settling and that can never be good. This band is talented and they are capable, very capable; the ensuing music will most definitely be something to look out for.