It's the same old story: band releases terrific record, label implodes shortly thereafter, band is left in the lurch and/or legal limbo. It happened to a lot of bands when Big Deal Records went belly up in 1999, shortly after the release of Cockeyed Ghost's impressive second album, The Scapegoat Factory. Ghost leader Adam Marsland was tied up in litigation for a good long while after that, and even considered giving up the music business. Happily, he didn't, and not only is 2001's Ludlow 6:18 better than its two predecessors, Marsland wisely limits himself to only one song about the Big Deal experience, the scathing "Burning Me Out (Of the Record Store)." The rest of Ludlow 6:18 is relatively upbeat musically, but, lyrically, it's a different and far more disconcerting story. Nearly every song on the album concerns crushed hopes, broken dreams, and disappointments, framed by four songs about driving on Route 66 that bookend the album, turning it into a concept album of sorts. For all the bleakness on display, Ludlow 6:18 is at heart a cathartic, redemptive album. The fact that this is the first Cockeyed Ghost album to feature a stable lineup on all tracks, instead of Marsland and an ever-changing group of pals, means that the album is considerably more cohesive and musically assertive than the group's previous albums. Even the heartbreaking "Ginna Ling" has a spirited, soaring chorus delivering much-needed optimism to what could have been a resoundingly bleak, difficult album. Ludlow 6:18 is no party, but neither does it mope.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason