The Resurrectionists – Now That We Are All Ghosts
This Milwaukee, Wisconsin band is Americana sifted through a northern rootsy furrow & that’s closer to proponents of Tom Verlaine’s Television & Pere Ubu (David Thomas) vocalizations. So, while this unit isn’t playing traditional roots music in the truest sense of the word — the music with the addition of mandolin, tambourine, 12-string guitar & banjo shows some of its ingenuity. They provide on their second self-produced CD Now That We Are All Ghosts (Drops April 3–Seismic Wave Entertainment) 9 original songs.
Themes include life or death songs but with the added ingredient of North American log cabin’s tough-center added. Theatrical variants showcase creatively. But this may not be for everyone. The consensus is that the band is somewhat cinematic in their musical approach – judging from the song titles they certainly aren’t simple.
The song titles have a Frank Zappa-Captain Beefheart-type humor woven in. The music may seem haunting, but they’re closer to atmospheric. The band plays some interesting stuff. Tracks are soaked slowly in dark aggressive interpretations. The delivery moves at a good pace & the effects are kept at a minimum. “The Ghost This Time,” has some dissonant passages but the tune is strong despite its harshness.
Much closer to a striking Americana melody comes in “The Rest Cure.” This has the potency of 60s radical-folk muscle with a churchy organ & dribble of banjo that together create a spirited well-manicured slant. Likable for sure. That Clear Light (Elektra recording artists in the mid-60s) impression is similar to their classic cover of Tom Paxton’s gloomy Devil’s narrative “Mr. Blue.”
Lead vocalist Joe Cannon has the right vocals for this material. On “The New Winter,” he treads lightly into Siren’s late lead singer Kevin Coyne’s (“The Stride”) territory. But I like quirky vocalists. They don’t sound much like anyone else. Pavlov’s Dog’s David Surkamp is one & he’s gone from progressive rock to Americana in the last few years. Cannon has that transformation in his tone.
“Blue Henry,” plods a bit but the lyrics are gripping. This is where the tune is intensified. On this Cannon walks the perilous ledge of the late Michael Been’s The Call. A group so good The Band’s Garth Hudson played with them & the late actor Harry Dean Stanton was on harmonica. That’s a great place to be if your musical predator is edgy & penetrating. The Resurrectionists aren’t as bleak & as Charles Dickens-oriented as The Tiger Lillies (“Hell”) but they’re focused.
The coda is (“hotel with pool”) with its Tom Verlaine-Richard Lloyd-type intertwining guitar playing that was evident in early Television songs. It’s for selective tastes.
Highlights – “The Ghost This Time,” “The Rest Cure,” “Break & Enter Part 2,” “The New Winter” & “Blue Henry.”
Musicians – Joe Cannon (guitar/banjo/vocal), Jeff Brueggeman (bass), Josh Barto (drums) & Gian Pogliano (tambourine/12-string & Ghost guitars/Mellotron).
Music samples & Resurrectionists CD available @ https://resurrectionistsmke.bandcamp.com/album/now-that-we-are-all-ghosts & https://seismicwave.net/