Ghost Towns of the West is a Minneapolis-based rock band who has created a wonderfully eclectic and beautifully haunting record in Shadows of the Light. The band, who balance numerous other aspects of their lives have taken the time to come together and in turn have created a unique sound that draws on psychedelic, hard rock, and prog. Ghost Towns of the West deserve to be on your list of bands-to-see.
What makes Shadows of the Light so successful is their exemplary blend of the darkness and the light. The record shuffles between funky, slinky sax lines from Ryan Jansen in “Love Yourself” to trudging through murky gloom under the stirring vocals of Andrew Dwyer in “Obtuse Coma.” The two-faced approach keeps the listener on their toes and prevents them from getting comfortable, in the best way possible.
It’s hard to say exactly the influences of Ghost Towns of the West lie, as some songs could be part of the early roots of American Punk, such as Iggy and the Stooges, or the New York Dolls and the next song could hit at more contemporary psychedelia like The Black Angels or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. But never does the band feel rehashed or mimicking. They allow other music to guide, but not control.
The highlight of the album has to come in the closer, “Rise”. The track, which clocks in at nearly eight minutes, is a shaping and shifting journey that culminates in eerie, yet strangely melodic ambience. We yet again see the band’s willingness to step outside the norms of straight ahead rock and truly challenge themselves and the listener both vocally and instrumentally.
Shadows in Light is an exciting album at its core. It is varied, new, and does not allow itself to become content. After a few listens and a true attention to detail you find intricate harmonies, layered electronics and still manages to retain a raw, inspired sound. Ghost Towns of the West deserves to listed among the Twin Cities best new rock bands. I can only imagine how this record shines in a live setting.