Wait. Hold up. This has members of caP’n Jazz, Joan Of Arc, and Owls...excluding Mike and/or Tim Kinsella? Say it isn’t so! Why would a band do such a thing? Create a band that has post-emo indie guitar riffs, yet not have either of the Kinsella kids provide vocals? Sounds like a total drag. Well kids, sadly, this album has no vocals in the first place, which actually proves to be Precious Blood’s greatest downfall.
Ghosts And Vodka prove themselves to be a talented band, creating some intricate guitar rhythms, very reminiscent of early Polyvinyl and Crank! stuff. They weave some beautiful melodies and have some nice time changes, too. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Another Instrumental album? No thanks, I have nicer music to fall asleep to. Unlike bands like Explosions In The Sky, Precious Blood proves to be a life saver for kids with A.D.D. who can’t get past the two-minute mark of a song without pressing the skip button. The songs aren’t twenty-minute ballads, trying to permanently etch the same riff into your brain tissue by playing it like a broken record.
The second track of the album, “It’s All About Right Then,” begins with a few jangly arpeggios while the other guitar strums a few well-placed power chords. The drums suddenly kick in, keeping you on your feet, with high emphasis on the cymbals, careful not to drown out the twin melodies of the guitars. Then the guitar screeches, with high bends and pull-offs leaping into your ears, and kicks into a solo. None of the songs seem to follow any sort of formula, and each one is easily distinguishable from the last. The tempos are varied, there aren’t any repeated riffs, and you can tell there is some tight musicianship involved with constructing this album. The songs are pretty poppy and melodic, and consequently very easy to get into. It can put you into a very happy mood, so I highly suggest you put this on when you know you’re going to be in the car, for a long time, going somewhere on a long drive.
Yet no matter how good these melodies are, Precious Blood leaves the listener a bit empty. While the instruments give off a groovy vibe, putting yourself in a feel-good position, you may find yourself asking the question, “Damn, what the hell is this song supposed to be about?” This leads to the only flaw this album has. Sure, it is a major one, but it can be overlooked. Due to the lack of vocals, the album seems to lack emotion and sincerity. With all their previous projects, the members of Ghosts And Vodka had a talented vocalist with some amazing lyrics that left the listener with something nice to remember once the CD was done, let it be a catchy chorus, or a memorable one-liner. Sadly, Ghosts And Vodka lacks all of those elements. Without a vocalist, the listener can’t really relate to the album, let alone figure out the theme of the song. Not even the names of the song give hint to what the listener should think about while hearing this album, leaving the listener with titles like “Futuristic Genitalia,” “Nicholas Prefers Dinosaurs,” and “Is That A Person?” With each and every song, I find myself wanting to scream and violently attack my speakers, “WHY CAN’T YOU HAVE VOCALS?” Precious Blood ultimately proves you cannot create an emo band without good lyrical content. However, you may get the feeling that maybe Ghosts And Vodka doesn’t want to be taken seriously in the way that American Football and Joan Of Arc was. The album art is filled with references to feces, and a picture of a kid looking at a porno magazine, with an ever-too-familiar white liquid seeping beneath his knees. Maybe I shouldn’t be expecting themes like making out with girls and breaking up with them?
However, if you are looking for an album that leaves you with a “feel-good” attitude about life, this is definitely the CD for you. If you’re a fan of that old Polyvinyl Records math rock feel, I also suggest you pick this up. Even though it doesn’t have the Kinsella name attached to it, Ghosts And Vodka are a commendable act, and should be checked out if you’re a fan of caP’n Jazz or American Football. To anyone who's expecting a heartfelt release with some cute lyrics, don't pick up Precious Blood and look elsewhere.