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The Midnight Ghost Train - Cypress Ave.

The Midnight Ghost Train
Cypress Ave.
by Chen May at 26 August 2017, 11:19 AM

Let me begin by saying that I have never heard of THE MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN before, let alone listened to their prior discography. Originating from Kansas, THE MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN is a three-piece outfit comprising of vocalist and guitarist Steve Moss, bassist Mike Boyne and drummer Brandon Burghart. The band’s fourth full-length album “Cypress Ave.” is a juxtaposition between the brooding and the psychedelic. With this album serving as my first exposure into said band, I can say that it is a highly positive (and refreshing) listening experience.

The somber opener “Tonight” might seem like another rock ballad, with its mellow intro and all, but it changes when the chorus kicks in. Steve’s gruff voice is a highlight of the band’s music, permeating the track with a rugged edge. The powerful chorus strikes a counterbalance to the song’s melancholic atmosphere. “Red Eyed Junkie Queen” is a no-nonsense stoner rock affair. Opening with a steady line of bass riffs, and coupled with the deep, gravelly vocals of Steve, the song is imbued with a grungy southern rock flavor. “Glenn’s Promise” is memorable for its general catchiness and groovy riffs, aside from the repetitive chorus.

“The Watchers Nest” is a dynamic track, beginning with some soft strums and drum beats that gradually crescendo into a rock chorus. Generally, this song is characterized by its mixture of soothing vocals, solid riffs and punchy bass lines. The song slows to a halt, only to quicken its pace and intensity towards the end. “The Boogie Down” is a rather intriguing addition to this album. It provides a stark contrast to “Cypress Ave.”’s stoner rock sound, bringing with it a lively funk/hip-hop ambience instead. This track features rapper Sonny Cheeba from hip-hop outfit CAMP LO. The overall quirkiness of the lyrics and the upbeat nature of the song. Although it might feel a bit odd to have a hip-hop track within a rock album, it does serve as a light-hearted moment to an otherwise solemn atmosphere evoked by “Cypress Ave.”.

“Black Wave” is an exceptionally sensual tune, with soft, calming tones and rhythmic beats. It is dreamy ballad that manages to captivate your senses, but has a crestfallen hint to it as well. The tender vocals here make for an interesting contrast to the heavier tracks at the beginning of this album, generating a contemplative air of wistfulness. “The Echo” carries a similar brooding vibe, albeit with a much heavier essence. Solid riffs and drum beats are ever present, with Steve channeling his throaty voice into this gritty track. “Cypress Ave.” closes off with the melancholic “I Can’t Let You Go”. Steve once again proves that he can croon as well as pull off harsh rock vocals in this power ballad. This composition that skirts the edge between frailty and roughness makes for an appropriate closing track, with the song speeding up with a guitar solo one last time before coming to a gradual stop.

THE MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN’s latest album is both sensual and gritty, resulting in a charming combination that is bound to enthrall a wide range of listeners. I certainly found myself enjoying the album more than expected. Its rock sound laced with elements from other musical genres makes listening to “Cypress Ave.” a worthwhile and entertaining moment.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Tonight
2. Red Eyed Junkie Queen
3. Glenn's Promise
4. Bury Me Deep
5. The Watchers Nest
6. Break My Love
7. Lemon Trees
8. The Boogie Down (ft. Sonny Cheeba)
9. Black Wave
10. The Echo
11. I Can't Let You Go
Lineup:
Steve Moss – Vocals/Guitars
Mike Boyne – Bass
Brandon Burghart – Drums
Record Label: Napalm Records
     


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