Album Review: Garrahan’s Ghost – “Songs From The Spider Box”

I was listening to some bands on reverbnation and I came across this band from York, PA (USA). I loved them immediately and I felt that this was the stuff that I was looking for. Imagine a rogue folk English band from the 90’s making a trip around the Mediterranean countries. Then they come back home and record an album. Which will be the music they would play? Something similar to Garrahan’s Ghost “Songs from the Spider Box”

I enjoy particularly how they make you feel that you know how the song is going to grow but they do the unexpected . Let’s take track no. 3, “Separate God for Gamblers”. It’s 4 songs in one! At the beginning piano and drums, you think that it’s a crooner singing. Then somebody plays the harmonica and you’re in the middle of an Elvis Presley song. New piano with a different beat and vocals and you feel that you’re listening to a Wedding Present song. And, finally, the song gets quieter with a good mandolin and more piano. A haunting song.

“Sullivan’s Lake” (The Flood) is, IMHO, the single of the album. A catchy song featuring and Italian sounding accordion. Its second part, track no. 6 “Sullivan´s Lake” (The Drought) is based on an accordion and guitar sound reminiscent of the English band Pressgang.

The instrumental “Song of the Chanter” is another fantastic number. I would file it together with other excellent instrumentals such as “Success Express” (The Whisky Priests), “Bok Espok” (Kepa Junkera + Hedningarna) and “Gaites del Infiernu” (Tejedor).

The second half of the album is amazing: “The Great Wall of Morgantown”, another Italian/Mediterranean song featuring accordion and mandolin in the Modena City Ramblers vein; “First Cap Reel”, a Pressgang meets The Dreadnoughts instrumental: “Jewel’s Jig”, great accordion, fiddle and vocals à la DKM on real Celtic punk song; and, to finish up, “Houdini Diablo” another fiddle and accordion gypsy/European song that can rival with the Dreadnoughts.

Garrahan’s Ghost share with The Dreadnoughts the same starting point, but they have evolved in a different way. They are not so wild, but their music is very interesting. I don’t know if “Songs from the Spider Box” is the best album of 2011, but at least I feel that it’s the most attractive album of 2011.

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