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Review by Vince Leigh
This new release by Ghost Boy is taken from The Sun and the Rain album released in 2018. This track is a blend of lo-fi dream pop and folk with the focus on the understated and the intimate.
After a long introduction, featuring a raw acoustic guitar playing a wistful yet sanguine progression of chords, Miles McLaughlin’s voice comes in: breathy, whispery and vulnerable sounding. A series of verses follow, whose melodic structure relies on long spaces and the accompanying chords’ evocative power.
This is the perfect bed for the intimacy of Ghost Boy’s fragile and tender vocal and the personal and direct nature of his lyrics. The arrangement is unconventional here, with a set of verses that lead into a chorus-like part, some fine melodic highlights and ones upon which the effectiveness of the song rests.
There is a sense of resolve in this section aided by an increase in the intensity of the guitar rhythm and a more self-assured vocal performance. This arrangement seems to work when allowing the textures and sounds of the song to work as an atmospheric piece (such as you might hear during the end credits of a coming-of-age indie film) but is less effective under closer scrutiny.
What is apparent when listening to Ghost Boy is the enormous potential that’s on display. One gets the sense that this track, and many of the other tracks from the aforementioned album, are starting points from which this young Canberra artist can initiate some serious musical endeavours. If one were to need references I would suggest that the style is Elliott Smith meets echoes of Nick Drake (especially in the lower registers of Ghost Boy’s voice), two artists whose legacies would serve as impeccable and ideal influences for Miles, if they aren’t already.
Ghost Boy’s The Sun and The Rain can be purchased here.