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Whenever I come to an instrumental release now, I try to subscribe to a simple theory to help me review it: What would this band sound like if they had vocals? All too often, it’s easy to imagine vocals kicking in at some point and, thus, the true nature of the music is revealed.
I have, admittedly, done this on several occasions and not only has it made my life that much easier I believe it has made my reviews that much better. You see, typically, when you get a band you’re trying to review, you always start with the vocals. I don’t know why it is, maybe it’s because one can only sing so many different ways, but the vocals are where you start.
Eliminating the vocals crushes that very path that I must go down to review music (For the most part—now a days I just make shit up). So I used to dread reviewing instrumental music, no matter how good I thought it was, because I had no way of doing it.
Non-linear wrap up: I developed the aforementioned method that others have probably used and no longer had anxiety about reviewing instrumental bands.
And then Ghost Box Orchestra came into my life.
And then GHOST BOX ORCHESTRA CAME INTO MY LIFE.
Actually, I’d heard them before this, but this full length was really what struck me most so far of their works as being “If I put vocals to this- no matter whose vocals- it still wouldn’t sound like anything that currently exists”. So while bands can have their “Instrumental version of Thrice” and what not, GBO might not have vocals but they have a unique take on music.
Is it haunting, like the ghost in their name suggests sometimes? Yes, it can be. Is it sort of like an orchestra? Absolutely. Does it have characteristics of a western for some reason? Actually, that’s what this comes out like most to me in many ways: the soundtrack to an old western ghost town.
And they do have some sort of vocals at times, but don’t let that stop you from liking them.