British vocalist and musician Ghostpoet, aka Obaro Ejimiwe, has spent the last few years on the underground music scene, but rose to attention after picking up two prestigious Mercury Prize nominations. His recently released fourth album Dark Days + Canapes is his most experimental yet.
Many Moods At Midnight sets the scene, with dry drum kits, dark, moody piano lines creating a vibe that evokes 90s dance group Faithless. Ejimiwe builds a feeling of impending angst with the lyrics, “I’m calling out to you, out across the seas, let’s stay together, I’m down on my knees”.
Freakshow and Dopamine If I do are instrumentally similar, but with intense string lines added to the mix to create visceral crescendos, while the electronic bleeps and sombre piano chords of (We’re) Dominoes contains the same pessimistic bleakness of Kid A-era Radiohead.
The second half of the album demonstrates more rhythmic variation with the addition of electric guitars. Live>Leave and Karoshi channel more psychedelic rock and experimental sounds, and the rolling breakbeats of Immigrant Boogie and closer End Times have a dramatic delivery and energy, which singles out the tracks as album highlights. The ethereal guitar sounds of Trouble + Me also give a nice distraction to the repetitive drum patterns which sadly merge from track to track, with many of the songs plodding along at the same tempo.
Ghostpoet is definitely pushing the envelope with his own sounds on Dark Days + Canapes, but even he confesses in Woe Is Meee, “I haven’t reached my peak”.