Hey, I'm a Ghost

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The first thing you have to do when settling in with Sullivan's debut full-length is acclimate yourself to Brooks Paschal's voice, which sounds uncannily like a girl's. This hits you mainly on the slower numbers -- on the faster songs his voice drops into a less startling tenor register, and then you notice what's best about this band: the guitars. Working generally within the mainstream of the emo genre, Sullivan are more about building big, emotional tidal waves of sound than wielding razor-sharp hooks, but when they do deliver a hook they deliver it big, as on the soaring "Cloudy" and the subtler but still compelling "Ten Ways to Impress." "Promise Me" and "Insurance for the Weak" (with its snippet of a drum-machine loop harking back to the group's early days) are highlights as well, and make up for the more pedestrian moments on "Gardens" and "How I Remember You." Unfortunately, staying in the emo mainstream also means keeping your lyrics inscrutable to the point of syntactic incoherence (random line: "Captures the light in thieves, and underneath your sleeves"), but the lyrics are easy enough to ignore.

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