The devil and god are raging inside of A Fire with Friends’ Ghost House, as they brick together apparitions of the late Thrice, Brand New, and early Circa Survive into an a-frame stuffed with sweeping guitars and delicate melodies. Formed back in 2009, the 7-piece indie rock entourage from Scranton, PA, is a flame that burns hot for Daniel Rosler (vocals/guitar), Edward Cuozzo (guitar/vocals), Chelsea Collins (piano), John Husosky (bass), Eric Foster (synth), Brian K. Errigo (drums), and Daniel King (cello).
The EP takes flight with the haunting, “Astronaut Killed Himself”, a plucky, delicate number, with the backing, brittle spine of Collins’ keys. The track sets the overall spacey tenderness of A Ghost House, as the echoes beckon you in with a cool galactic breeze.
“Awful Things” is next, as Rosler snarls with Dustin Kensrue tenacity, almost lilting into a country song with his pronunciation of “I had a brother who was killed by a cat”. Collins keeps up with the quick pace of Cuozzo and Husosky, as the song dips into a jutting beat of hot revenge but, instead, hides behind a pause and emerges again with a timidly aggressive guitar solo of stunning symmetry reminiscent of The Dear Hunter.
“White Bike” is the ghost in the house, drifting up staircases with a staccato Cuozzo as Husosky’s bass makes the paisley wallpaper yellow and curl from advance stages of dilapidation. Errigo weaves cobwebs in the corners of the ceiling as the vocals softly visit each pattern, draping every word in sticky, translucent dust.
Much like the rest of the Ghost House, “Autumn Drive” leaves the listener with a numbing sense of mortality. Beginning with a heavy bass line, the track fidgets on, restlessly existing between September and October. King plays the cello in line with the rest of the band, creating the illusion of a koto being plucked in celebration of a Japanese harvest moon.
My only question after listening to Ghost House is, what with their finesse for the strikingly beautiful macabre, why more people do not know of A Fire with Friends. Check out their latest EP Ghost House below and make sure to see them live at Shea Stadium BK in Brooklyn, NY on March 5 with KC Jones.