Radical Face
Ghost


4.5
superb

Review

by Hodgmand USER (2 Reviews)
March 25th, 2010 | 71 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It’s with "Ghost" that makes the genre of indie-folk enjoyable. Yes, the album has its production quirks and a lack of vocal range, but those problems seem so minute when looking at its big picture.

Considering the many ways artists can record music these days, it comes as no surprise when you hear of garages, attics, and basements being turned into high quality music studios. In the case of Ben Cooper, it’s not the garage or the common basement that’s being shelled into a musical haven. Instead it's a tool shed outside of his house.

Residing from Jacksonville, Florida, Ben Cooper (Radical Face) knows a bit about patience and the excellence that can come from it. Over a span of four years he sat and stared into the wondrous life of houses and their multifaceted backgrounds and used that background to produce one of the finest pieces of folk music to surface. Entitled "Ghost," this concept album about houses and their histories displays true indie-folk that incorporates multiple layers of sound that fairly distances itself from lesser talented folk pieces. It evokes emotion, temperament, depth, and the makeup of Paul Simon-esque charisma. With a central acoustic guitar, the accordion, sprawling drums, and many different styles of piano, it blasts away all of the “has mat” that this 21st century has given us musically. Moreover, it single-handedly focuses on one concept without getting droned out with repetitiveness.

Throughout "Ghost" the listener will find that Radical Face never gives the album one dull moment. The way the music structure flows is near perfect and it seems that in most cases you’re listening as if he is trying to impress you with his musical stoutness on purpose. Right from the beginning, he shares his musical brilliance with “Welcome Home, Son.” If there’s one song on the album that will get any listener hooked, it’s this. Showcasing Radical Face’s “oh-ing and humming”, this song presents the strongest and most likable chorus on the album. In “Wrapped in Piano Strings” he combines bombarding snare claps around a centralized acoustic guitar while managing to keep the ear focused on the piano keys in the background for a very lighthearted track. Whereas on “Glory” he goes in the opposite direction where the listener can hear a three part harmony with acoustic and electric guitars, whistling, humming, and climactic drum fills that close out the six minute epic. This contradiction in track styles fits perfectly for the album and concept itself, displaying the uniqueness and different “stories” Face wants to showcase.

It must be stated that nothing on this album seems forced. There’s no overcompensation, there are no strained attempts of instrumental layering, and the vocals tend to stay around the same tone throughout. It all just seems to come naturally. And maybe that is why this album is so profound. “We push through trees now, our house is covered in ice,” he sings in “Winter is Coming,” as the accompanying acoustic guitar and bass drum follow his shrill cries.

His greatest display of the whole “house and memory” concept is found on “Sleepwalking.” Most of the song is quotable for what it’s worth, and musically it might be the strongest on the album. Low dark organ buzzes are found throughout, followed by melodic weeping from the harmonica that goes along perfectly with Face’s sincere preaching. “Got a picture on the mantelpiece/Of the way that I thought that we'd end up/But it shares no resemblance to that/Yeah, that shares no resemblance to that.”

It’s with "Ghost" that makes the genre of indie-folk enjoyable. Yes, the album has its production quirks and a lack of vocal range, but those problems seem so minute when looking at its big picture. Not only does it captivate the topic of a “concept album” perfectly, but it also displays the musical genius of Radical Face’s multi-layering at a high end. In all regards, "Ghost" is an album that will always fly under the radar, but when it's heard, it will definitely make an impression.


user ratings (195)
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
crazyblinddude
August 31st 2010


3390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Me neither. Album needs more love.

tombits
September 2nd 2010


3547 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

excellent album

brutebeard
September 3rd 2010


1655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Good intro paragraph.



Oh, and don't you mean "Welcome Home" not "Welcome Home, Son" ?

crazyblinddude
September 3rd 2010


3390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good to see you looked into this.

Hodgmand
September 3rd 2010


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think I actually had to put this on Sputnik, because when I searched for it, it was nowhere to be seen. Thanks for the positive comments. I really do appreciate it.



@brutebeard: yeah I think you're right. I get confused on this track because on the album it's just "Welcome Home," but the music video has been known to be "Welcome Home, Son." But yeah, anyway, this album is just too good for sputnik not to have.

crazyblinddude
September 4th 2010


3390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You should review some more albums dude. You're a fine reviewer, and frankly if you knew about this album, you have spectacular taste in my book.

brutebeard
September 4th 2010


1655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

agree ^

Hodgmand
September 4th 2010


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hey thanks man that means a lot. I will actually try to get more reviews in now that I'm back in school (I'm a journalism major at Michigan State University). I'm the music editor for a publication called the Spartanedge, so when I'm not dealing with work from there I really do want to get back to sputnik. Thanks again.

Hodgmand
September 4th 2010


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Both of you

brutebeard
September 5th 2010


1655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

That's awesome. I want to be a professional writer of some sort too

tombits
September 5th 2010


3547 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so do i. i think this site has a lot to do with budding journalists finding their feet.

brutebeard
September 5th 2010


1655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It certainly is fine practice

Observer
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2010


7361 Comments


the negative critics' reviews for this are all bull shit

this rules

Digging: Handsome - Handsome

Kiran
Emeritus
October 15th 2010


6069 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah this is great



"welcome home" might be the best thing he's ever done and he's done a lot of good stuff with electric president

brutebeard
October 15th 2010


1655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah Tommy Wiseau, up your rating

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2010


12202 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

welcome home rules

Observer
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2010


7361 Comments


Winter is Coming is where it's at


klap
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2010


12202 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

well fine jared ponton

brutebeard
October 15th 2010


1655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

wrapped in piano strings is the tune

Curse.
October 27th 2010


8059 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is amazing, absolutely amazing



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