Did we just experience a glitch in the Matrix? Or was it just a ghost of the past?
Sometimes musicians don’t take time to watch the paint dry and keep releasing one work after the other. The boys from King Gizzard are famous for it but also oldie Nick Cave still has a murderous work ethic. Canadian Evan Uschenko seemingly wants to belong to this group of people because after debuting with his band Ghost Woman six months ago a brand new album already sees the light of day. Anne, If comes forth from Uschenko’s love for his Tascam 388 recorder and therefore, just like their self-titled debut, again is a homage to 60s psych rock.
It doesn’t take long to get fully submerged in the warm analogue sound as fine guitar pop and rootsy guitar riffs break free on Broke and 3 Weeks Straight which has that lovely early-Stones grainy feel. Listening to Anne, If is like stepping into a time machine as much of the songs can be connected to yesteryears greats. The End of A Gun is one of the finest examples of what the band is capable of. The melodic, straightforward production refers to a great variety of classic bands. Do we hear The Kinks? Jefferson Airplane? And how about the title track which has that more languid feel? The Byrds? Crosby, Stills & Nash? We could start a drinking game about which reference fits best but let’s not go there at this time of the day. Also keep in mind that Ghost Woman’s songs are not reinterpretations but are originals.
Although there are some upbeat songs on Anne, If much of the album is made to relax by. Lo Extrano mellowness, including a wonderful added steel guitar, is ideal for those sunny garden days spent in a hammock. Also the dreamy closer So Long or the layered Arline could serve the same purpose. Charming, uncomplicated and familiar are key words for the music Ghost Woman creates. On just two occasions the band jumps into other directions that both are nice on their own but above all feel out of place. On Tripped it’s the drunken style of Uschenko singing that doesn’t fit and on Street Meet the band surprisingly goes full 70s krautrock. Frankly we would love to hear more in the style of Tripped on a separate ode to Mark Lanegan but on Anne, If it has no business.
It’s easy to fall into the ‘we have heard this all before’ trap when hearing Ghost Woman’s sophomore album but something that is made by an enthusiast for enthusiasts deserves better, of course. Anne, If offers nothing to go wild about but just take it for what it is. That is: a fair weather record that you will thoroughly enjoy if you have a half hour to loaf around.
Label: Full Time Hobby, 2023
Buy it here: https://fulltimehobby.ffm.to/anneif
- Welcome (0:48)
- Broke (4:23)
- 3 Weeks Straight (2:25)
- Anne, If (3:19)
- Street Meet (3:13)
- The End of a Gun (3:11)
- Lo Extraño (4:40)
- Arline (3:25)
- Down Again (3:46)
- Tripped (2:23)
- So Long (2:06)
- Evan Uschenko – vocals/multi-instrumentalist
- Travis Salty – guitar
- Nick Hay – guitar
- Jon Lent – bass
- Eli Browning- drums
Review by Wander Meulemans // 010423