Review Summary: Now THAT'S some Cap'n Jazz offspring I can get behind.
Ghosts and Vodka are one of the many off-shoots of Cap’n Jazz heritage, and I wonder to myself sometimes whether, with the insane number that already exist, music as we know it will simply evolve into a multitude of bands comprised of former members of Cap’n Jazz bands and their colleagues. I can think of worse things happening. Either way, I’ve always been astonished that Ghosts and Vodka fills the role of red-headed step-child in the Cap’n Jazz family tree. An instrumental rock band through and through, Ghosts and Vodka don’t quite fit comfortably under a genre label, but serve to occupy the gap between indie rock and post-rock, minus any pretension, plus oodles of fun.
Approaching Addicts and Drunks
, Ghosts and Vodka’s 17-song discography, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat worried that with a general description of “accessible instrumental rock music with conventional song structure,” the compilation would fall on its face due to sheer monotony or mundanity. Rather, Addicts and Drunks
blew away my hasty hypothesis, proving to be a diverse and incredibly dynamic listen. Guitarist Victor Villareal is beyond a doubt the most impressive factor on display, with his virtuosic playing rarely taking a breath to relax. Catchy guitar riffs define this record, and the summery feel bleeding out from Villareal’s guitar is arguably more charming than any other Cap’n Jazz by-product. The fast-paced and constantly-shifting guitar riffs exude a sort of shifting aesthetic, like the music is hard-pressed to find a comfort zone and would rather waddle to and fro. In its entirety, Addicts and Drunks
flows extremely well due to this aspect, and more satisfying than that even, is anything but
one-dimensional. Sadly, the filler tracks like “Andrea Loves Horses,” “Conversational All-Star,” and “Nicholas Prefers Dinosaurs” are glaringly obvious, but the carefree, riff-tastic awesomeness, for lack of a more perfect descriptor, surrounds and envelopes the duds, reminding you that Ghosts and Vodka is a creative force to be reckoned with.
On second thought, the instrumental rock songs can’t be defined as imposing. Mostly around 3-minutes long, Ghosts and Vodka employ an accessible song-structure to complement the catchy riffs and nonchalant atmosphere. Breathtaking harmonies and dueling guitars galore, Ghosts and Vodka prove that vocals aren’t essential to create catchy goodness more convincingly than any single band I can fathom. They singlehandedly combat the pretension of post-rock and the knack for conformity of indie rock, all the while pleasuring us with some ridiculous instrumental prowess. Now that’s
some Cap’n Jazz spawn I can get behind.