There’s an ease to The Ghost That Was, a sort of comfortable tonal fluidity that suggests the five dudes in Shallow Palace — among them drummer and regular Free Times contributor Michael Spawn — simply set up their gear, hit record and ripped through the record’s nine tunes in just a few takes. The tones stay static. So, too, does the mix: Guitars are almost always at the forefront; organs and pianos swell in the quieter passages; voices, sometimes harmonizing, float just above the din. It’s somewhat akin to listening to a soundboard recording of a live performance — which, given the band’s combustible energy, works in Ghost’s favor.
But while the album presents an interesting sonic continuity, its song selection suggests split personalities. Shallow Palace has always been a hydra-headed outfit, with multiple songwriting voices that cover a melange of styles and subgenres. Diversity marked the band’s first full-length, The Vig, and it marks Ghost, too: “Point of You” and “No Lip” are sweltering, swaggering Southern rockers; “Swindler” and “One of Us” are dramatic and operatic piano-driven classic rock cuts; “Zombie Love Song” and “Singularity” are derived from overcast British bombasticism.
This variegation is both a strength and a weakness for Shallow Palace. Operating in so many guises — often in the course of a single song — does keep things interesting. And the band’s versatility is remarkable, especially in an era marked by rigid subgenrefication. But by spreading itself so thin, Shallow Palace becomes a jack of many trades but a master of none. Ghost, as a result, is a pleasant and occasionally engaging listen, but not an essential one.
3LAU on Sunday, October 26th and the Unofficial Skrillex Mothership Tour After-Party on the 27th. More information and tickets for both can be found here. VIP tables available.
Veteran Vapors now open!
Veteran-owned and operated, Veteran Vapors is located at 2308 Airport Blvd. in West Columbia. This month, 10% of all juice sales will be donated to Save the Ta-Tas. Special discounts available to veterans, military and public safety officials.
$10 Spa Specials!
Join us for 60-minute facials, microdermabrasion, bikini waxing, and more for only $10! 823 Gervais Street, Suite 120. Text your appointment request to 803-468-4643.
King Lear in Finlay Park
October 16th-18th and 22nd-25th, the South Carolina Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s King Lear. All performances held at the Finlay Park Ampitheatre at 7:30 PM. For tickets and more information, click here or call 803-665-2000.
The Other Place at Trustus Theatre
Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. A mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth of Juliana’s mental health boils to the surface in The Other Place, running at Trustus Theatre October 17th through November 1st. There will be a talk-back following the matinee on October 19th. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 803-254-9732.
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