North of Manhattan there is the Bronx, a place more known for Hip Hop than Rock and Roll. But still this is where Bronx based Ghost King are trying to thrive and thriving they are.
‘There is a very small music scene here in the Bronx. We and some friends actually tried starting a venue at this really cool old ballroom down the street but it got shut down. No one wants us to have any fun’. While everyone is rushing down to Brooklyn and Manhattan, Ghost King remain faithful to where they live. The band is the idea of Carter Neil, who's been writing songs since he knew only a few chords. And so one day whilst writing Ghost In Love, a few friends got together and started one of NYC’s coolest new projects; yes Ghost King was born.
The band's début album BONES is a hello to the world, and what better way to introduce yourself than with a full LP recorded with Chris Daley at the Salvation Recording Co in New York. Deerhunter is all over Ghost King’s début record. Indeed Halcyon Digest was the first album Carter had an obsession with back when he lived in Texas. It has inspired the sound of this delightfully soulful record with a late night gloomy atmosphere, in fact it’s the kind of ambient rock and roll which showcases just how much talent the Bronx outfit have. Take Skeleton Dance, Carter's raucous voice fits perfectly with the gloomy atmosphere of this Alien Days-esque journey. The record revolves mostly around love, isolation and deep personal issues. And that’s alright.
‘Every word is very personal to me. During the winter I would work every morning come home, and try to write songs in my room until I passed out. Sometimes I would go out to get coffee’.
However it's with the stripped down acoustic guitar where this coffee fueled creator of endless depth of sounds and nuances wins our hearts. In this case less is more. Winters Air is one of the simplest, but one of the best songs I've heard this year. 'There’s something in this winter’s air, it’s really starting to bring me down. No sense in wondering where you’re going, you know we’re all just stuck here in the Bronx’. The moment Carter sings these lines, you’re fucking hooked. Leech offers a similar mesmerizing simplicity where you kick yourself for not thinking of it first. It has that beautiful up and down rhythm, padded with an organ of hope and expectation. As inferred earlier, there’s a sound similar to the likes of MGMT, but that works. They are the two tracks on the record where Carter's vulnerable sweet voice and strums convey the strongest messages.
‘We’re still a very new band, this album was our first release and we only started venturing out into the city to play shows very recently. We belong to a small community in the Bronx and we’re still trying to find our place. No one really knows who we are yet, hopefully that will change soon’.