The Desert Vest - You Can't Push a Ghost (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Desert Vest

You Can't Push a Ghost (2010)


Minneapolis' the Desert Vest first contacted me about doing a review of their album You Can't Push a Ghost after my review of their friends Death to Our Enemies and their self-titled LP and supposing I would similarly enjoy their offering.

Indeed, the two bands present a remarkably similar style of grungy garage rock, though the two-piece Desert Vest make far fewer attempts at pop appeal, apparently more concerned with crafting eerily textured sonic voyages than stringing together a chain of hooks. Singer Lucas Price's dreary vocal deportment is the chief distinguishing characteristic of You Can't Push a Ghost, as his mildly avant-garde lyrics are brought to life, or more appropriately, some zombie-like state. "For Jesus you cry / You cry your tears / His agency / The callous glue / Love ghost of youth / The nun she bought it / Broke of prophet" sings Price on opener "The Endless Agent." The compositions are at their best when the unexcited vocals are juxtaposed with jarring dissonance and lively rhythms pounded out by drummer Nick Hauboldt, such as the Sonic Youth-influenced "Silverfish." Most of the songs are a bit on the long side (between 3:30 and 5 minutes), and the duo indulges in quite a bit of tinkering towards the end of the album, but it closes out well with "At the Bottom."

Fuzzy, experimental garage rock may not be at its peak right now, but don't tell that to the Desert Vest. Their gloomy approach might sound more at home in Seattle than Minneapolis, but when it's -4 degrees out in the middle of the day, Price's despondent delivery makes perfect sense.