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Album Review: Ghost of America by Sincere Gifts EP

By Coren Bass, Albright College

Apr 29, 2021

Making their debut single last year Sincere Gifts return for their first major project, the Ghost of America EP. The group emerged out of the Los Angeles and New York City Indie Rock scenes, and amidst global chaos the group put out a project that reflects corporate greed and how it has affected the American people. Lead guitarist Nick Byron Campbell described the album to by saying, “Ghost of America is a short musical tour through the decline.”

The album kicks off with its title track “Ghosts of America”. It’s an energetic track that contrasts imagery of the state and the country. “So what’s our obsession with freedom of expression? The lamestream media is lying with every breath. But don’tcha worry, we’ll get them in a hurry… The journalists will be lined up and sentenced to death.” These lyrics resonate with recent concerns of “Fake News”, the spread of misinformation and elected officials blurring the lines of the truth. They also have a “Quarantine Edition” version of the same song,
which was a lot more laid back.

The next track is “Fortunate Man”. This song begins with the soft guitar playing, as vocalist Benben Wigler talks about how fortunate he is. With a switch of the beat it takes a harder turn halfway through the song, showing that being the fortunate man is not all that it’s cracked up to be and uncovering the flaws of a man with so much but so little at the same time. The following track is “Monsanto V. Santo: The Boardroom Speaks”. It’s probably my favorite track on the album as it has a more laid back sound but still has a kick to it that I find balance in. The song talks about the horrors of big biotech companies and how they’ve become too powerful and that along with
capitalism have aided in the disaster that is the America of today.

The next two songs are quite possibly the most controversial in subject matter in “The Nationalist Anthem” and “Police Riot”. While Nationalist Anthem is not a wordy track, it is poignant . “I’m the future, My shield and semi-auto at my side I’m not sure if it’s loaded, But soon you will be reaching for the sky, I’m going to off to war.” This took me back into the mindset of the Capital being stormed on January 6th, this year, and seeing white nationalists break through and start a riot and a violent attack of Congress. Listening to this song it brought me back to that day and how much worse things could have been and how this may be what a lot of the people there were thinking and feeling. That aside, it’s a song that is obviously supposed to give off the feeling of being somewhat patriotic with the drums reminding you of marching soldiers.

“Police Riot” is a more upbeat track that gives off the feeling of fear. This song also, like “Nationalist Anthem”, puts you in the mind of a police officer going through a riot most likely after the death of a citizen and the injustice that has occurred. It was a really upbeat and fast song and I thought it was great. The song was very interesting to me in the subject matter and the lyrics that were stated. “Police Riot, We command it, now kneel harder, Freedom given by state, Obey or feel the weight.” At the time of me writing this the verdict was reached about the Derek Chauvin trial as he was found guilty of killing George Floyd on three counts as he kneeled on his
neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on May 25, 2020. These lyrics were so much about George Floyd and other black people who have wrongly been killed and although there may be some solace today, there needs to be more work done.

Overall, I thought the album was okay. This style of music is usually something that is completely out of my element but I did like the messaging about how the country is in a poor state thanks to hyper-capitalism, the biotech industry, drug companies and their manufacturing, and the dangerous ideas of nostalgia for a time that many weren’t equal. While I did find some enjoyment in the ideas of this project, musically it just didn’t hold my interest which is problematic for an album only twenty minutes long in length. However, I still give this
project a recommendation because I did enjoy the content of the music. I just found the sound to not be interesting for me. I do believe they will be releasing some visuals for the album in the near future which I may check out to see if they change my opinion on the project.

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