The band Renee Heartfelt's name merely sounds remarkably dumb until one hears the back story, at which point it tips over into sleazy shock value for its own cynical sake. (Renee Hartevelt was a student murdered by cannibalistic serial killer Issei Sagawa in 1981; the connection between this pointless tragedy and the naming of a remarkably lame emo band a quarter-century later remains unclear.) Similarly, the title of their full-length debut, some kind of pointless inversion of Wilco's A Ghost Is Born, is the sort of lame pseudo-profundity that a pretentious high-school student would write in his journal -- in public, naturally -- to show everyone that he's really, like, deep, maaaaan. It's necessary to spend time discussing the band name and album title at length, because the contents of this album are banal beyond description. Deadeningly by the book emo that sounds like any number of other little-known bands in this creatively spent subgenre -- the press release for this album states that the bandmembers are former members of unimportant bands whose names sound like deadpan parodies of the stilted, pompous names that emo bands love -- Death of the Ghost has very little to recommend it. Singer/guitarist Pete Appleby has a voice that manages to be both deeply annoying and completely anonymous, and his lyrics are laughably affected. The rest of the band barely warrants mention at all. Even those who can't get enough of this sort of thing might find Death of the Ghost completely uninvolving.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason