It’s nice when a CD given as a gift turns out better than expected. Mrs Stewart removed the rollers from her hair and set the rolling-pin down for five minutes to order me this CD from Amazon. She bought it as it was said to sound like some bands whom I adore. But Cherry Ghost has never made it to my list of favourites. Their first album, Thirst For Romance, was given a cursory play back in 2007 when it made its appearance.
But in Beneath This Burning Shoreline the Lancashire band have produced a fine collection of songs which belie its peak chart position of 40 in July last year.
Hailing from Bolton, Cherry Ghost has often been criticised for sounding like a cheap Elbow, however, upon listening to their 2010 album this is an equally cheap shot. There are crushing stories in Beneath This Burning Shoreline that are beyond the ken of Elbow. The grand effusion of Simon Aldred’s vocals is complimented by songs that sway and swathe their way through the listener’s mind; with the lead single Kissing Strangers a case point, soothing and melodic, but slightly abnormal.
There are high points of ambitious arrangement in the album, perhaps peaking with the quite brilliant The Night They Buried Sadie Clay – this is a song loaded with subplots as strings, subtle riffing and an innocuous piano riff that only reinforces the view that the quiet ones are the most likely to cause trouble.
There is much about Cherry Ghost that is familiar, be it a squeeze of Babybird, or a twist of I Am Kloot. The bitter stuff is the Coldplay wannabe Black Fang but in the main this is a musically astute band who write with heart and gusto. What’s not to like?
Recommended tracks: We Sleep On Stones, Kissing Strangers, The Night They Buried Sadie Clay, A Month of Mornings,
James A. Stewart