As ponderous as I find the lofty, orchestral-lite formula wunderkinds du jour The Arcade Fire have taken to the bank (also qualifying, but to a lesser extent Broken Social Scene) their artsy angle isnвЂ™t entirely unappealing in itself, rather IвЂ™ve never been one for style over substance. Columbus, OhioвЂ™s (who like the Arcade Fire also happen to be a co-ed proposition) miraculously meet my criteria, as it were, for equivalent quotients of both of those ever so tricky but all too crucial facets - much in the way a mid-size sedan (say a Camry or a Malibu) comfortably accommodates a family of four. Um, sure. If only a truly substantive indie rock could be likened to sedan, but for those of you who have made it this far into my synopsis, I think you get my drift.В In a nutshell, had the Arcades taken a more modest tact, they just might be on the same wavelengthВ as Ghost Shirt.
Robust, but unencumbered, opulent, yet economical, Ghost ShirtвЂ™s Domestique doesnвЂ™t merely strike the proper вЂњbalance,вЂќ it downright charms, woos, and dazzles anyone within earshotВ who possesses an affection for bright, lucid guitar pop tethered to briskly pulsating tempos. Operating as a quartet without extraneous accompaniment, pretentious overtonesВ and baroque eccentricities arenвЂ™t even a consideration here. Samantha KimвЂ™s sweeping violin fills, featured prominently on several tracks, embellish the arrangements without overpowering them. In fact, the strings are merely a winsome backdrop, as are the swarming synths that occupy вЂњSleep,вЂќ a number which rings reminiscent of Julian CasablancaвЂ™s recent solo dabbling. Ghost ShirtвЂ™s most intoxicating and buoyant selections play out during the first half of Domestique, with the overall tenor of the album easing into a comparatively serene home stretch. Though not consistently fervent, Domestique is consistently palatable. Listen to вЂњZanneвЂќ and вЂњHistory of the RadioвЂќ for material evidence. I should also mention that if Domestique is to your liking, thereвЂ™s plenty more where this came from, with G/S releasing a вЂњsingleвЂќ per week online for an entire year. At last count they were up to 26.
Domestique is available from , Amazon, and more retailers than you can shake a stick at.В