OK. I get it. In this day and age the music industry has become almost like the Wild West. Literally thousands of indie musicians vying and jockeying for position and a spot on your playlist. In order to get noticed, you need a hook. Many times a great song can set you apart but more often than not, it’s the attention you can draw to yourself that will get you noticed. A stunt, a gimmick; often times the kitschier the better. When I was first asked to write this review, I wasn’t sure what to make of The Ghost of Brooklyn. Should it be taken seriously or is it just another stunt designed for attention. Upon closer examination, I can’t answer that question.
The Ghost’s publicity material states, “The Ghost of Brooklyn is a real ghost from Green-Wood Cemetery. Not the scary nighttime variety, but a friendly musical ghost that meditates, plays guitar and prowls the city streets in search of good vegan food.” Think Casper with a guitar. “Born in 1881 (or about that time), The Ghost of Brooklyn is an animated corpse raised for musical purposes. Cursed with authenticity and tremendous songwriting talent, his raw punchy sound will haunt you.” Alright, I’ll bite. I dived in and actually gave the music an honest listen.
Despite lacking the slick production standards expected in todays’ music, the songs of The Ghost of Brooklyn are surprisingly pretty good. Believe me when I tell you I wasn’t expecting much. The whole project seems a little too contrived to me and not all that well executed but the songs are surprisingly good. I know I said that already but the music is very listenable and quite pleasant. The Ghost does seem to have a talent for songwriting and I think that if he put a little more effort into the production techniques he might have a real chance to break through. Then again, if what he says is real, we shouldn’t really expect any more than what we have. A real conundrum.
Listening to the music, I am reminded of Daniel Johnston who did actually breakthrough for a while but where Daniel Johnston’s shtick was real and authentic, The Ghost of Brooklyn’s is too contrived for this reviewer. Or is it?
You can hear The Ghost of Brooklyn’s music exclusively at his Youtube channel
Uncle Duke; a.k.a. Rob Penland is the producer and host of "The Mad Music Asylum" a 4 hour weekly syndicated radio show and now a 24 hour streaming internet station.