Irish alt-rockers Ghost Accuser aim to provide “something solid” for listeners; on their latest album, Empty Orchestra, they have done just that. Ten punky alternative rock songs come together to make a cohesively dusky record, and the band’s claim that it brings together aspects of music from bands like Queens Of The Stone Age and The Cure to make a neat blend of “dark discord and indie punk rock” hits the nail right on the head.
It feels almost as though there’s a holier-than-thou attitude given off by the band’s Bandcamp page, however. Defining their own music as “something REAL,” it reads like it was written by someone who snubs all modern music for lacking substance – something that is reflected in the somewhat forced authenticity of the lyrical content of Empty Orchestra. Generally, the lyrics feel as if they’re trying too hard to be creative and edgy rather than genuine, like on “Lifelines” when the band’s frontman sings, “Blind in the mainframe/Open-eyed and unashamed/This is the last time I come to offer lifelines.”
Still, the music itself is enjoyable. Driving percussion and dark, rhythmic guitar and bass are complemented by gravelly vocals and the occasional stringed instrument or organ melody. Even as the album progresses and gets less punky, the lighter, bouncier tracks are still catchy, and a combination of ripping guitar solos and jangling finger picking maintain the nice alternative rock sound. It is vibrant and rich throughout, full of solidly rocking music.
“Windows” is a standout on the album; despite a haunting thirty-second intro of only light finger picking, it bursts into something more substantial. It’s driving and, surprisingly, has just a little bit of a twangy, country feel to it – but not in a bad way. Rather, the sound is natural. It’s just spooky enough to be entertaining, and it sounds like it could’ve come straight off of the soundtrack of Sherlock or a thriller movie.
Despite my grievances about the forced authenticity, there are still plenty of moments on the album that feel easy rather than forced. In terms of sound, it’s a pleasantly dark alt-rock album with plenty of variety to keep your interest piqued through to the end of the ten tracks. There’s no shortage of vibrant, catchy music on this album, and it is truly something.