The Ghosts of Searchlight Drop Unforgettable Sounds on Sprawl
You’ve got to wait nine songs and nearly the whole album of The Ghosts of Searchlight’s latest project that dropped yesterday, Sprawl, to hear something quite like you’ve never heard before and, chances are, you just might not again—until you hit play on “Sprawl”.
In hindsight it seems rather obvious, given the titular nature of this tune. Still, unless you happen to read this review first, there’s really nothing to prepare you for this cut that perhaps ambles about at, I don’t know, maybe 50, 55 BPM—if that. It’s replete with space and emotion, a reflective ode to seemingly the phenomenon of life itself, and is the shining, superlative moment on an album that is filled with impressive music.
Again, it’s not like the work that comes before “Sprawl” is forgettable. It’s just that the grand finale of this LP is when the pair of Brian Horn and Ben Kaplan, joined at various moments by a couple guests including Emily Hope Price and Katrina Garsten (one of whom works wonders on “Sprawl”) on the cello and violin, respectively, choose to smack it out the park.
There’s an electric guitar that remains winsome, as though quite undecided about which direction it wants to go while still finding success at every turn. The drumming is sparse and one of those strings players come through pirouetting, spiraling sounds up into the horizon and back down again, much like the endless turning of that gaseous orb emanating light from somewhere in the sky.
Words don’t do this one justice, and it would be too easy to devote the entire review to it. However, that would only neglect tracks like “Home”, which shares some poignant similarities with “Sprawl”, but not nearly to the extremes the latter goes. “Home” would be a great tune to get drunk to, watching these performers cut it up live, the electric guitar lacerating this bass heavy track, the drums starting and stopping at will.
The only vocals on this album are from samples of movies and other sources of audio. The preoccupation with the music is well warranted, particularly on “Taste of Freedom”, which basks in this sensation with some type of mandolin guitars, maybe, dancing along swiftly to a mid tempo affair. It’s certainly indicative of what the group is capable of, a fact that’s epitomized by “Sprawl”.