Take a journey down a hazy psychedelic river and land in a lagoon of post-punk heaven. That’s the aquatic journey New Age Healers, the project of Owen Murphy, will lead you on with Ghosts.
New Age Healers’ debut features the music of a different era and genre — think 80’s and 90’s shoegaze. The entire album has an eerily nostalgic feel to it; you know the music from somewhere, but can’t quite discern why.
All ten songs on the album are musical perfection in their own right. Original, catchy, and bleeding with Murphy’s raw talent. I will touch upon the tracks that stood out to me in particular, and then I implore you to go listen to the album in its entirety.
“Lost Your Mind” is the opening song on Ghosts. The track draws you in immediately with a crisp guitar riff followed by, what sounds to be, a jubilant tambourine. Then the rhythmic voice of Owen Murphy whips you up into a trance as he murmurs, “You may be out of touch, but how will you know when you’ve lost your mind?”
And if this wasn’t enough to get your head spinning, in comes a fuzzy vibrational sound, provided by the synth, which gives off the vibe of floating in outer space. This song makes you hungry for more, and is a perfect introduction to the album.
The title track is slotted third on the album. It opens in an almost Led Zeppelin inspired fashion and leads into a pulsating beat, with deep bass and soft drums—the foundation of this song—echoing placidly in the background. I want to touch back upon the bass, because it truly stuck out to me on this track. Perhaps I’m being a bit biased— I tend to favor the sound of a bass— but it truly does add something extra to this song; an old timey feel fashioned by the 70’s. “Ghosts” is not overwhelming. It is a subtle masterpiece, concocted in only three minutes and nineteen seconds.
“I Want More” is a true tribute to the 80’s— maybe the early 90’s. The lyrics are edgy: “I love screwing with you… I want more,” is laid out over quick, euphoric guitars and a steady drum. And then there’s the synth again, transporting you into an alien space ship as you glide upon a road made of stardust. The song is simplistic, but insanely catchy, and also quite intricate, as you try to pick out how each instrument enters, exits, and then enters the mix all over again.
“Shadows vs. Los Angeles” begins with an almost grungy vibe to it and is a bit different from the rest of the songs. This is important, as it shows Mr. Murphy’s ability to create diverse music on the same album. The vocals are almost whispered and nearly drowned out by a passionately flowing guitar and drum line. You can truly feel the artist’s emotions bleeding through the microphone in this one.
On a nearly complete opposite end of the spectrum is “There’s No Tomorrow,” which starts off with a classic and simple acoustic guitar and is shortly accompanied by a duet of easygoing tambourine and cymbal. Owen’s voice glides over the music, coating us in a down feather blanket.
The simplicity of the song mirrors the message, “There’s no tomorrow, there’s just today.” It reminds us to breathe. To listen to how each instrument has its turn; how it plays a role within the song. This track only solidifies how varied Owen Murphy’s musical capabilities are.
The tenth and final song on the album, “Hey Hey Hey, Yeah Yeah Song,” surely seals the Ghosts together in a whirlwind of color and sound. A fast paced, fun song— bass, drums, shakers, guitar, and of course of the flowing vocals of the artist— tie themselves around your heart and pull you once more into a reality of a freer era.
This song is here to remind us of a road trip we never took; riding into the fading sun, in our Pontiac Firebird Convertible.
Ghosts is one of the most substantially creative albums I have listened to in a long time. No two songs are alike, and I found myself growing tired of none. Each track on the album is important as it adds to the diversity of the album as a whole. The lyrics are beautiful and full of an obscure longing that pulls at your heartstrings.
This is a must listen to album, but be warned, you will not be able to listen to it only once.