Ginger Wildheart “Ghost In The Tanglewood” (Round Records, 2018)

There’s a dichotomy at the heart of these songs – they are generally explorations of mental illness and especially Wildheart’s struggle with depression, and yet the songs sound joyous. ‘Daylight Hotel’ which opens the record was penned whilst he was in hospital receiving treatment and it sounds like a celebration, a big rousing chorus, a call for recovery. It is a refreshing change from the usual maudlin self-centred responses to the issue.

Indeed the songs are so straightforward that at times they seem like Young Adult explorations, those tragedies where teens find each other despite their disabilities. ‘Golden Tears’ seems so sincere and hopeful that it sounds straight out of Hollywood central casting for uplifting Celtic sounding band. Similarly ‘Paying It Forward’ is one of those idealistic ideas that attract young minds even if it is an idea that if we all adopted, the world would be a much better place, the primary colours of the music and lyrics making for ease of understanding and a lack of nuance.

There are a few songs when he sounds (fittingly given the above paragraph) like Teenage Fanclub – bright melodies soaring harmonies, in other words quite wonderful. ‘The Words Are Gonna Have To Wait’and ‘Reaper’ sound likesun-drenchedd love songs while underneath he is singing about the ever present shadow of depression. It’s a smart and laudable move by Wildheart, a stealth move; the appeal of the songs is broad, and those who listen closely might find solace, comfort and help.

6/10

Summary

Uplifting meditation on mental illness

Author: David Cowling

Punk rock, Go-Betweens, REM, Replacments, Husker Du, Minutemen, Will Oldham, Smog, Whiskeytown, Ass Ponys but probably most of all Howe Gelb, led me on this journey.

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