Ghost Stories

Amanda Ghost

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Ghost Stories Review

by Bryan Buss

Britain's Amanda Ghost has the voice, the talent, and the presence of a star. With the husk of Janis Joplin, the vulnerability of Victoria Williams, the rasp of Joan Osborne, the melancholy of Robert Smith, the emotional timbre of Laura Branigan, the dramatic appeal of Edith Piaf, and the resignation of Marianne Faithfull -- too many cigarettes, too much booze, too many disappointments -- Ghost's voice is confessional without being self-pitying, strong while still being warm, confrontational while simultaneously asking for compassion. She faces you with her experience and offers no apologies. A born storyteller, her voice conveys tales most people don't have the imagination to imagine. Ghost Stories, her debut, is a journey, emotionally and aurally. Each cut takes a moment to grab you, but just as you're reaching to hit rewind because you have got to hear that last song one more time, the next track grips you and you can't change it. Despite the coldness of some techno touches (the captivating "Blind Man" could be a big dance anthem, and "Numb" is like a techno/lounge march), there is something innately human about the entire album -- vocals, lyrics, and production. Something of a torch singer, Ghost goes from tough "Filthy Mind" to tender "Idol" to romantic "Glory Girl," and then she turns it all around to find something nostalgic and evocative in the simplicity of the melodies of "Blind Man," "Silver Lining," "Empty," and "A Child Believes." This is a solid, confident debut that will be difficult to follow up, but Amanda Ghost will not be a one-hit wonder; this album is testament to that.

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