Birddog

Ghost of the Season

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AllMusic Review by

While the first Birddog releases were essentially solo projects by Bill Santen, this mini-LP finds the singer/songwriter working with a full band for the first time. The quintet creates some of the starkest acoustic rock since Bob Dylan confounded fans with John Wesley Harding in 1967. Take that album's simple setup (guitar, bass, and drums) and Americana flavor, add a vocalist who sounds like a young Roger Daltrey, give the whole thing a rather whimsical bent, and you arrive at the sound of Ghost of the Season. Starting off on the right foot, the opening "Deadlights" has the sort of melody you'd swear you heard years ago as a child on some long forgotten playground. Unfortunately, Santen is unable to maintain such immediate tunefulness for the rest of the album. As a result, there's not enough push behind the eccentric storytelling of "Blue Steel," "Halloween," and the title track. On "Great Escape" and "Trigger," he leads listeners to the wrong side of town, singing like he's got a secret to tell. But the tales of too much drink, the flashing of money, and a mysterious death are only half-convincing. Things improve on the trio of compositions that closes the record, culminating in "Johnson Dozer." Part lullaby, part feverish dream, it sends the collection off on a high note. Though billed as a full-length, Ghost of the Season's ten tracks are over in under a half an hour. Santen's surreal, fragmented imagery ultimately offers little to hold onto, leaving the listener with a vague sensation rather than strong impressions.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:08
2
3:01
3
3:04
4
2:30
5
3:16
6
2:41
7
3:47
8
3:33
9
2:11
10
2:28
blue highlight denotes track pick