Tooth & Nail's latest prodigy comes in the form of a band called Sullivan. Combining the edge of Beloved with the pop sensibility of Fall Out Boy, these boys from North Carolina have an instrumental arrangement that stands out among most of their peers in a big way. Lacking, however, is vocal strength on their impressive, yet equally disappointing debut, Hey, I'm a Ghost.
You don't really grasp how important a strong set of vocal chords are until you hear a band like Sullivan. Brooks Paschal attempts the "punk infused pop" voice that has become popular as of late. At times, it works, particularly when the guitars pick up and the song does not entirely rely on the vocals' strength, but, rather, are complimented by them. The rest of the time, it's just frustrating to listen to.
Take, for example, the first forty seconds of the opening track, "Down Here, We All Float." The guitars are perfect - intense, riveting, and capable of conveying emotions on their own. That's hard to do, and Sullivan gets major points for pulling it off. However, they lose most of those well-earned accolades as soon as Paschal begins singing. It does get better, but the opening verse of "Down Here, We All Float" is a particularly sour point.
Still, as mentioned, the instrumental arrangements are quite impressive, and almost manage to carry this one all the way home. If you are able to look past the somewhat feminine vocals, Hey, I'm a Ghost is a standout record that holds its own against some of the best out there. Otherwise, it's a record that falls flat before it's really given a chance to take off.- Review date: 01/22/06, written by Josh Taylor
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