Thursday, January 7, 2010

sheets are swaying on an old clothesline like a row of captured ghosts

Radical Face is a band name that caught my eye. I listened expecting maybe a Ween sort of ridiculousness to stream out of the speakers (because really...Radical Face...hilarious). Instead, I was transported.

Ben Cooper is all of Radical Face (I wonder if he was describing his own face), and also one half of the electronic indie pop band Electric President. Radical Face's 2007 debut album Ghost, recorded mainly in a tool shed behind his house, was inspired by the idea that houses preserve the stories that take place within them. Or, in Cooper's words:

"It was written with the idea of houses having memories, and people leaving ghosts behind whenever they move from one place to the next. An idea that whatever we do in our homes is collected in the walls and might come out and haunt whoever moves in next. So the songs are all short stories, tied together with a theme."

What a gorgeous idea. It's the kind of album that caused me to pull up the blinds on this unforgiving cold day, and think about what this house would sigh about if it could, and if it would do so with splendid whistles, and cleansing waves of harmonies.

The production of Ghost features some extensive and well done layering, with the central focus coming back to Cooper and his acoustic guitar or piano, establishing the folk roots put down here. Accordion, banjo, even organ, sweetly build on each other to create an album that effortlessly moves from being disarmingly sincere and comfortable at one moment, to exploding into euphoric revival like choruses.

The subtle, swelling joy of this album just destroys me. It knocks down the walls, and shows me what it's like to be inhabited and filled and left and emptied.

I think I'll let it stay a while.

Welcome Home- Radical Face

Do you not totally love that he used wind chimes to open this number? Like the song was carried on a breeze through an open porch screen door.

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