Seahaven - Ghost (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Ghost (2010)


Seahaven might include ex-Final Fight drummer James Phillips in their ranks, but it's an almost pointless point of reference to make, as the band's debut, Ghost, is a far, far cry from FF's semi-melodic hardcore charge. Instead, this EP bears an occasionally stunning confluence of indie and melodic emo rock styles with a load of varied song moods and vibes that manage to maintain a cohesive vision all the same, musing about both the power and failings of family and the looming metaphor of supernatural force.

Throughout this EP there are subtle influences of mid-period Brand New and Bridge Nine-era Crime in Stereo; save the distinctly Daisy-esque cover and the fact that the words "devil" or "God" appear in practically every song, they're never overstated or blatantly obvious. Sometimes these inspirations are overshadowed by outside acknowledgements anyway. Opener "Plague" begins with vocalist/guitarist Kyle Chadwick murmuring a heady narrative about his personal demon over a low guitar strum--it's totally out of the Manchester Orchestra playbook, but his delivery is compelling. The song makes some seriously dynamic changes that sure won't erase such a comparison, but again, Chadwick's voice becomes strained and a little bit gravelly and it helps usher in a seriously tense introduction.

When the band kick into its followup, "Birds," we're treated with the EP's most aggressive track and a prime hook to boot, with Chadwick resigning to the thin exterior of a shallow acquaintance: "You are camouflage, / but you can't hide much."

There are a couple songs here that actually sound like Hot Rod Circuit's Sorry About Tomorrow is playing a hand, and in the best way possible. In "Bottled," Chadwick's reverberating voice gets decidedly Andy Jackson-esque while a bevy of distorted and riffing guitars drive the verses along with him. It's a broken-home tale where he manages to get away with riskily clichéd lines like "You are a butterfly" and "You are the oxygen I breathe" because they're respectively part of some pretty aching couplets. The guitar leads and vocal melodies in closer "Head in the Sand (Blinding Son)" definitely carry traces of HRC too. "Love" is even a cautiously poppier divergence featuring rambled, group-sung vocals on the verses and a guest appearance from Set Your Goals' Jordan Brown.

No matter what influence or melodic style Seahaven are alluding to, however, it all sounds part of a singular plan of cathartic activity, and it's one of the better short forms of it you're bound to hear all year.

Ghost EP