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Future Ghosts: “Oh, Great City” EP Review

March 16, 2011

Direct from Greensboro, North Carolina, alt-rock four piece Future Ghosts are keeping the steel hot, delivering an avalanche of crashing rock and roll.

Their five song EP, Oh, Great City, was released February 13th and three songs are available for stream via Sign Me to Roadrunner Record’s website. The EP is a jarring first-look into the upcoming sounds of one of the South’s rising forces in modern rock.

This EP is a proud tribute to the groundwork laid by modern rock powerhouses Mae, the Spill Canvas and Brand New.

A fair blend of the diverting guitar blasts of the Spill Canvas, the inescapable drumming power of a Circa Survive and a lyrical dialogue that commands your dissection.

Aslan Freeman (Guitars/Vocals), Chris Carr (Guitars, Banjo, Charango), Mike Kane (Drums) and Curtis Armstead (Bass/Vocals) are pushing what is perhaps, the hardest envelope to push in the music scene. The diluted hard rock/alt-rock horizon is tough to bleed through; it takes a true mastery of the craft to leave something that sticks.

Their opening track, “Spotless,” is trimmed with beautiful lead guitar to honor the tempo. The drum beat is a perfect landing if there ever was one. The chorus is intoxicating and the lead vocals are delivered with creativity every line. Nothing is boring here.

Grace” follows; a toned-down melody with muted guitar riffing to open. Regardless, the band’s start-stop inserts leave numerous opportunities for explosive thrusts into lead-footed bridges. There’s even a hint of violin in the backdrop, as if this song didn’t have the feel of an epic. I’d imagine this song to land amongst the “fillers” for this band, yet a very solid filler at that.

“Lock the Light In” jumps right back into hysteria, with a brilliant piano riff accompanied by its married mate at guitar. The chorus is once again beautifully orchestrated; I’d share lyrics with you if I wasn’t so paranoid of misinterpreting them. You’ll just have to wait and see for yourself. A remnant of a guitar solo appears towards the end of the track; I must say, I crave a bit more guitar solos from this group. Its obvious they are highly capable.

“Distiller” is the fourth track, which features some crafty guitar effects as interludes; once again highlighting the group’s stop-start signature. The main guitar riff is well composed and the same energy is brought here as found on “Spotless.” Solid.

“It Was the Pilot” is the undeniable finale for this EP. As always, energy must quiet, as the band turns down their volume and allows the piano to accompany the lead vocals into an intimate place. Once the kickdrum emerges from the dark, you have a rock epic for the ages. For some reason, I’m hinting the exuberance of Mae…notably “Someone Else’s Arms.”

Call me right or wrong, but this band is laying their own concrete on the path opened by bands like Mae and Brand New. This is not a slight to hard rock, as is so easy to find these days; this is a tribute. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to hear the upcoming full-release from this group.

Additional note: Future Ghosts will be battling at the UNC Greensboro Battle of the Bands March 27th. They also are set to perform on Greene Street in Greensboro March 30th with Emery, To Speak of Wolves and the Future Is Me.



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