ALBUM REVIEW: Ghostpoet – Dark Days + Canapés | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Play It Again Sam

Released: 18.08.17






Ghostpoet’s compelling fourth studio album finds Obaro Ejimiwe caught between two stools. On one hand, he’s attempting to make sense of a world gone mad whilst on the other he’s grappling with living up to the lofty standards set by his stellar trio of previous releases. He needn’t worry about the latter though. Dark Days and Canapés – a highly idiosyncratic blend of languid vocals and boundary-prodding production – finds the two-time Mercury Prize nominee at his poetically introspective best, and indulging heavily in his penchant for moody leftfield sonics.

Stylistically, this LP picks up where its daring predecessor, the still brilliant Shedding Skin, left off. Ejimiwe – who had flirted with alternative hip hop and trippy electronica on his first two albums – now seems fully committed to the guitar-driven sound initiated on that last record, and this results in each richly nuanced composition being accentuated with a stunning post-punk virtuosity.

There’s an intrinsically charismatic quality to Ejimiwe’s off-kilter drawl that commands rapt attention without demanding it – revisit Gaaasp and Liiines from Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam if you doubt me. On this album, he practically slurs his way through the woozily ambient polyrhythms of (We’re) Dominoes, yet you can’t help but be transfixed by his hypnotic cadence. When combined with his natural intuition for vivid storytelling – which lends just the right measure of gloomy intensity to the already-dystopic melodrama of Immigrant Boogie – it all adds up to a dynamic combination of elements that could finally see him fill that Mercury Prize-shaped space on his living room shelf. With its Black Mirror-esque aesthetics and layered aural textures, this cohesive set is a gentle reminder that the ever-sartorial Ejimiwe still has plenty of tricks up his well-tailored sleeve. Like the man says on Woe Is Meee, he’s not yet reached his peak.

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