It is crazy to think its not even been a month since its been out, but I cannot get enough of one of my favourite new records, the self-titled album by Handsome Ghost which came out on 25th August 2023. Everything about this new record makes me smile so much, because for a start let me tell you it will be some of the most organic and exceptional song writing you will ever experience.
So without further ado lets delve right in and find out what this latest helping by the Boston based duo has to offer. The proceedings begin with opening track April Song, which is just so inviting and is just oozing with such powerful energy and depth in the lyrics which just grab your heart in an instant. I just love that the duo are giving us fresh honesty with lines ‘But I have been here before, and that’s what's been holding me back’ being so breathtakingly insightful and powerful.
This energy continues to flow into the second number on the album Like You Lost Your Mind, which I will tell you now has automatically earned its place as one of my absolutely best songs of 2023 because you can tell a lot of heart and emotion has gone into the song, to give us something which is part vulnerable and part uplifting. Listening to something like Like You Lost Your Mind also give you an insight how members Tim Noyes and Eddie Burns really bring out the best in each other and are just able to give us as listeners a song we just want to press repeat time after time.
I have already touched on a couple of the songs from the records so far, but rather than deny you the opportunity of experiencing the record for yourself, I will focus on a just some of my recommendations which comes in handy especially when you are a first time listener.
One recommendation would have to be Neptune. Other than making my mind racing and body moving as I embraced the euphoric feel of this song, everything about Neptune is just stunning from start to finish. As someone who loves my lyrics, just hearing the words of Neptune made me feel so both emotional and inspired within the same breath especially when connected to lines such as ‘Found you much later, you were in it deep, Dive down on the corner where you drank for free, Wrapped your tiny fingers 'round a microphone , Oh, and you were singing, you were no-no-nobody's woman’. We all have that one song in our lives that we listen to as we day dream and watch the world go by, and for me I think Neptune is that song, the perfect way to bring together all those memories of summer.
I already touched on it that Handsome Ghost superpowers come mainly in the form of their song writing, which is evidently clear as I continue to listen to the new record. Thinking I couldn’t be any more amazed, my experience of Handsome Ghost just went up another level when I heard Tonight Comes Around Again. In my opinion, in what is already a strong and incredible record, the introduction of this song to the mix is an absolute game changer because lyrically it is just so raw because it feels like monologue of some of the things we go through in life as we try to make sense of it all.
For example I love the lines, ‘You say you're with the wrong man You tell me on the one hand, You say we're on the right track, But you would never buy that’ , because it reminds me of how we say one thing and then do the opposite, but what's funny is we can automatically think oh that reminds me of someone I know, but it can also remind us of ourselves sometimes too. That is multi-dimensional song writing right there - I love it!
I cannot talk about the new album, without touching on another favourite of mine, Figure 8 which again just made me feel so filled with emotion because I found myself really resonating to every single part of this song. Again it has that rawness and honesty which Tim and Eddie brilliantly infuse into their music, but also words such as ‘Please don't cut me loose, Tell me what I'm supposed to do’ transform the song into something quite healing too.
Handsome Ghost are really embracing and leading the way of what it means to bring vulnerability and strength together to produce something which as listeners we can all find quite cathartic and maybe go even as far as to say that the duo’s music becomes our place of solace.
Inspired about everything this entire album had to offer, I thought it was only right that I reached out to Tim and Eddie to find out more.
Welcome guys! Wow thank you for allowing me to experience and take captive of the spirit of this stunning new album!
Having worked on this record from what was originally ideas and inspirations that took captive of your mind, to being able to see something which you can finally see and embrace with your own eyes - how special has that feeling been for you both?
Tim: Extremely special. It was a long process to go from the little demos I sent Eddie to what eventually became our record. The songs have come a long way and I’m really proud of the finished product. We’ve been doing this together for many years now so it always feels like a little victory to combine our powers to make something that wouldn’t otherwise exist. So it feels good, definitely.
Eddie: When we work on a song, we listen to each second over and over and over again. They become such a big part of our lives during the times we work on them. And then when we’re finished, mixed, and mastered, I don’t listen back really until they’re released. So when we finally released the record, I listened back to the whole thing for the first time in a long long while, and it felt kinda like meeting up with an old friend.
With this being quite a powerful and honest album, what has it taught you as artists and lyricists about what it means to bring vulnerability, strength, and music together?
Tim: As a songwriter, I think it has taught me that honesty is most important above all else. Whether it’s good or bad or medium…if it’s honest then it’s worth doing. I feel like my “voice” is always changing as a songwriter and I will likely write differently for our next record than I did for this one. But I do think these are honest songs and I’ll be able to listen back and know exactly where I was at, personally, when I was writing these.
Eddie: In the earlier years and projects, I found it really hard not to let other people outside of Tim and myself affect production choices. I would try to add parts that I thought might stick for other people, real or imagined. Part of that was because Tim’s songs are often so real and relatable, I wanted to produce them to mean something to everybody. We’ve junked or had to rework a lot of songs over the years because of it. I think, over the years, I’ve finally come to the place where I just want to make songs for our sake, in a way that means something to us personally. It makes the songs more special to me that way. And I’ve found that when we approach the process that way, the songs resonate more with others because of that honesty.
I have already shared some of my recommendations with the readers, but having lived and breathed all of the tracks first hand, were there any particular songs on the record which tested you but were equally liberating to work on?
Tim: The song that comes to mind here is “Neptune.” It was one of the first tracks that we worked on and I think it really made it clear to us that we wanted to make another record. Up until that point, we were a little up in the air as to what the next step was for us. Once we started on Neptune, and felt the excitement of getting ideas down and pushing through challenges - we knew that we had another record to make and I think it set the tone for the rest of the process.
Eddie: For me, “Tiny Cracks And Pieces” felt like a real struggle initially. The song actually came together pretty quickly, all things considered, but it started off with a really different feel with aggressive (for us) drums. I think maybe I had just put so much pressure on that song because it’s such a personal one, to make some kind of statement with it. It took sleeping on it to reset, and the song fell together pretty naturally afterwards.
A huge thanks to both Tim and Eddie for taking the time to speak to us.
Based on my experience of listening to this latest album by Handsome Ghost, the way it has made me feel, the journey I feel it has and continues to take me on, each time I listen to it, along with everything that Tim and Eddie have also shared with us, I am confident that if there was one stand out album of 2023, Handsome Ghost would be right up their at the top of the list.
Regardless of whether your a day one fan of Handsome Ghost, or today is actually your day one, this new album has so much to offer, and really is a testimony of the heart and soul of two friends who are able to produce outstanding music where we as music fans can feel and truly embrace that instant chemistry from the very moment we press that play button. The self-titled album by Handsome Ghosts - needs no introduction, it speaks for itself, so go check it out right now!
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Article By Thushara S. Chandrasiri