Ghostpoet: Dark Days + Canapés (Play It Again Sam) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Dark Days + Canapés (Play It Again Sam)

Play It Again Sam

Aug 23, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The fourth album from Ghostpoet isn’t an easy listen. Obaro Ejimiwe’s voice is most often a growl, lingering over his sparse rock beats and guitar-driven melodies with a subtle audacity.

After three records, two of which saw the 34-year-old Londoner nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize, this latest offering is as serious as ever. Dark Days + Canapés is haunting and unnerving, pulled together by a musician who, this time, takes in not just personal strifes, but political angst too.

Lead single “Immigrant Boogie” may just be the finest reckoning of the refugee crisis yet, as observational lyrics are met with swelling guitar lines and muscular percussion in a track that does not deny any grit. Ejimiwe’s insistence on spitting his words out, rather than sugar-coating them in any superfluous melody, insists that this harsh reality is left front and center.

While Ejimiwe may not be sure anyone is listening to his gripping urbanity at all (“Lost in the crowd while I scream out loud,” he sings on “(We’re) Dominoes”), he does not hold back from meticulous additions which prove the skill of this musician as well as his producer, Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins). A gospel choir who went in to the studio to sing on a different track adds manic laughter to the crazed “Freakshow.” On “Blind as a Bat…” improvised string fragments, combined with dissonant piano, are layered to provide an eerily wayward state of mind. There is a sincere attention paid to the way phrases arc and resolve themselves, as in the dueling synth patterns towards the end of “Karoshi,” which intertwine into a steady groove before a breathless fade-out.

Final track “End Times” starts as a broken down, stuttering recording. It develops into one of Ghostpoet’s signature soulful caresses, before disintegrating back into shattered electronics. More than any other track on the album, it shows Ejimiwe’s relentlessness to straddle multiple feelings in one go, and this sensitively-written and fearlessly-recorded album is all the better for it. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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