Angharad Drake – Ghost
Independent – 13 April 2017
Brisbane-based Angharad Drake has been quietly building a following among Australian folk fans for her gentle, poetic indie folk since the release of her debut EP in 2010. While two more eps followed the fist, Ghost is Drake’s debut album.
Lyrically, Ghost is an album about finding a sense of identity in the face of love and uncertainty. This search for identity is reflected in the music. Only 24 years of age, Drake’s style is clearly indebted to the influences of Feist, Bon Iver and in particular Laura Marling. Whilst these influences can be heard at times, the best moments of Ghost are when Drake finds her own unique style. In particular, she has a special knack for crafting lyrics that turn back on themselves, articulating the confusion of someone trying to discover a sense of identity.
The opening track and single Baby sets the scene for the rest of the album. An ominous guitar line is accompanied by a mournful song of someone confused by their lover’s indifference. The struggle to understand transforms into a clear message as the guitar stops and for the clear advice to be sung a capella: “Don’t go worrying about your baby, no/ Your Baby’s gone.” The song takes a further twist, as the guitar builds back up and those lines are transformed into, “Don’t go worrying about your baby, no/ Baby don’t go.”
The influence of Marling can be most clearly heard on both Armour and Ghost. Armour begins with a gentle acoustic guitar and the gently sung vulnerable lines: “There’s cracks in my armour/ I thought I’d be fine. I wait by the harbour/ But I’m just killing time.” Drake’s talent for lyrics that twist around themselves is again present in the lines: “I don’t think that I’m invincible? But it’s what I need to hear.” In Ghost, a looping acoustic guitar underpins a sorrowful song about being unable to move on after a love affair has ended. Again the indecision is expressed through lyrics that loop around themselves, like the lines, “Now I wanna go, I wanna go, I wanna go/ well I could but I won’t.”
The highlights of the album add a more individual style to Drake’s poetic lyrics.
Bullet begins with ethereal, vocals over soft, swirling, psychedelic guitar. The song begins with a fierce statement of independence before transforming once more into doubt and confusion. The repetition of the enigmatic lines, “I’ve got a bullet babe/ But I don’t have a gun,” reemphasize the ambivalence that runs throughout the album. Honey in the rock starts with plaintive vocals over gently strummed acoustic guitar before building into a shimmering wall of noise.
Let it Go, the final song of the album returns to the theme of uncertainty and lack of direction. The song begins with a haunting a capella vocal intro. The repeated lines, “Let me who I’m supposed to be”, re-emphasize the theme of searching for one’s identity. It provides an appropriate end to an impressive, atmospheric debut album that deserves to gain Angharad Drake an audience far beyond Australia.
Order Ghost via Bandcamp: https://angharaddrake.bandcamp.com/