Earlier this month, Ghost Light released their sophomore album, The Healing, following 2019’s Best Kept Secrets. The group, consisting of guitar/vocalists Tom Hamilton and Raina Mullen, keyboardist Holly Bowling, drummer Scotty Zwang, and bassist Taylor Shell.
Formed in 2017 by Hamilton and Mullen, Ghost Light performed at festivals and lightly toured throughout 2018 and 2019 before their momentum was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The Healing was recorded at Hamilton’s studio The Ballroom in Philadelphia.
The album opens with title track “The Healing,” where Hamilton and Mullen’s harmonies are immediately put on display in the song’s emotional and folk-tinged vibe. The track ends with a rocking and heavily distorted guitar solo that fades into feedback.
Bowling’s keyboards really shine on “Faces in the Moon” and “Take Some Time” – both Mellotron and synthesizers contributing to a gorgeous textural backdrop to the high-quality lyrics and guitar fireworks from Hamilton and Mullen.
“Up Here Forever” has one of Mullen’s strongest vocal performances in an almost Broadway-like song full of raw emotion.
“Opening Credits”, unusually placed in the middle of the album, begins with a mellow guitar soundscape that is slowly joined by piano and then an arpeggiating bass line from Shell. The repeating motifs gradually grow more dissonant as the bass is augmented by a distortion effect. Sweeping waves of Mellotron bring the music to a crescendo before Zwang introduces a slow, pounding and cymbal-heavy groove as each member of the band contributes their piece to the massive wave of sound. Crashing into the shore, we are left with guitar, piano, and Mellotron as the track fades out.
Picking up where the previous track left off, “Sweet Unlimited” and “Dig a Hole” both are built upon the incredible chemistry of rhythm section Zwang and Shell as Bowling continues to excel on Wurlitzer. Dialing up a wide palette of guitar tones from compressed and distorted to ethereal and reverb-drenched, Hamilton really shines on these tracks.
The final track, “Don’t Say Goodnight Just Yet”, opens with a strong bassline from Shell as Bowling plays with synths. Zwang holds down a steady beat throughout the upbeat closing song as it acts as sort of an emotional climax to the album – many of the previous tracks having a darker and more melancholy tone to them. We are left the same way we began the song, with Shell’s strong bass.
The Healing is a fantastic addition to Ghost Light’s catalogue, capturing the band’s studio sound – layers of acoustic and electric guitar atop a solid foundation of keyboards, drums, and bass. One drawback that Best Kept Secret had was a “kitchen sink” approach, with overdubs of percussion and extra instruments almost to the point of extreme – The Healing is a breath of fresh air in comparison, a recording where you can clearly pick out each of the members’ contributions without getting muddled.
Ghost Light return to the road in December for a series of dates on the West Coast.
DEC 8 @ WILD BUFFALO | BELLINGHAM, WA
DEC 9 @ NECTAR LOUNGE |SEATTLE, WA
DEC 10 @ REVOLUTION HALL | PORTLAND, OR
DEC 11 @ WOW HALL | EUGENE, OR
DEC 13 @ CYPRESS | RENO, NV
DEC 14 @ HARLOW’S NIGHT CLUB | SACRAMENTO, CA
DEC 15 @ THE INDEPENDENT | SAN FRANCISCO, CA
DEC 16 @ TERAGRAM BALLROOM | LOS ANGELES, CA
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