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Album Review: 13ghosts – Liar’s Melody

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Longtime figures in the Alabama music scene, 13ghosts return from a hiatus and re-grouping with their eighth album, Liar’s Melody. Covering the mysterious and sinister southern rock realm as well as sweet and folky roots music, this album truly delivers.

Opener “Water, Rise” builds upon a gritty blues riff and ushers the listener into 13ghosts’ southern narrative, made relatable and intriguing by front man Brad Armstrong’s vocals. Lyrically and musically, this lead track is just an inkling of 13ghosts’ ability to pull you in and spit you back out, head ringing and with a crooked grin on your face.

Liar’s Melody is well sculpted, its balance of roots folk country bottled up with raisin’ hell southern rock. The Skynyrd-esque howling approach is equalized by sweet sounding front porch folk. This feature is best exemplified in the transition from the opener to “Broken Objects”, containing vocal support from fellow Alabama native Maria Taylor, who also appears on the album’s title track. However, the emotion-driven folk does not linger for long, as “Cocksuckers” oozes out of the hushed acoustic track, taking the form of a bluesy jam that shines a harsh light on the rock n’ roll lifestyle. It in turn leads to “Gimmie Back,” 13ghosts’ most poppy and energetic offering, channeling the Hold Steady’s warbled vocals, hyped-up aural attack, and searing guitar runs.

“Glory!Glory!” is the clear standout of the album, though it beats out its compadres by just a hair. The track embodies a raucous take on sobriety and individual shortcomings, serving up some serious guitar and lyrical work to conjure up the dark atmosphere of the song’s subject matter. Closer “Born to Rock n’ Roll” finishes like a sip of good whiskey: smooth, steady, and with a subtle but satisfactory burn. A well-crafted return from hiatus, 13ghosts’ Liar’s Melody will hold its own in modern southern rock and alt-country record bins.

Essential Tracks: “Gimmie Back”, “Glory!Glory!”, and “Liar’s Melody”

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