Amid Gentle Ghosts signature jarring, distorted, three-guitar assault, singer Seth McCarroll has to work extra hard to keep from getting drowned out.
His close attention to storytelling detail and occasional bouts of shouting creates an aggressive tension with the Norman post-rock bands especially loud style, which mimics some of the destructive domestic themes explored in its 2010 album, Family.
Hes one of my favorite songwriters, guitarist Brady Smith (pictured, right) said. Hes great at creating a very illustrated story with the words, and drawing from things that arent obvious. Expressing feelings and emotions by describing something, instead of saying, I feel this way or You broke my heart. He compared McCarrolls (pictured) talents to songwriters like Conor Oberst and Tim Kasher, best known for his work with the group Cursive.
Hes very perceptive to harsh details and stuff that grabs your attention, Smith said.
Like the album title, the six-piece (which includes Scott Harper and brothers Adam and Tyler Huskerson) is a close bunch, for whom friendship comes first. They write, practice and record as time allows and play shows without regular frequency.
Saturday nights set at The Deli, with local Riley Jantzen and Michigans Chris Bathgate, will be their first since Septembers Deep Deuce Music Festival, where they played new songs with faster tempos and ominous, samples from podcasts about paranormal activity.
We really wanted something to tie our songs together. Were just playing rock songs, but we also want this sense of drama, Smith said. So to be able to tie those together thematically and not in a way that instrumental bands do like Explosions [in the Sky], where its 52 minutes of nonstop playing. Were just trying to get from point A to D, and have it feel like a really smooth process. So while were tuning or something, people can listen to this crazy, theoretical nonsense about UFOs. And you dont really know what its about.
The effect is challenging like the best post-rock music and a little unsettling, like youve returned home to find your stuff rearranged. Perhaps by some friendly apparition, suggested by the bands name?
Smith said they plan to release a 7-inch recording in the near future, and that six new songs are in the final tweaking phase (Just a couple more bolts and screws tightened) and three more are under heavier construction.
We keep in mind that when we play this stuff live, we dont want it to be boring, Smith said. Weve got three guitars, so were always trying to find out how to avoid playing just chords all the time.
Photo by Matt Carney