Everest: Ghost Notes

Pleasant pop/rock that isn't particularly memorable, Everest is like Spoon without Britt Daniel, or maybe Wilco without Jeff Tweedy.


Ghost Notes

Contributors: Mike Terry
Label: Vapor
US Release Date: 2008-05-06
UK Release Date: 2008-06-30

Nothing about Ghost Notes grabs me. Everest's debut album is a 49-minute slice of easygoing pop/rock that's as competent as it is inoffensive. There isn't anything particularly bad about this album, but there isn't anything particularly memorable, either. The songs are generally well-played, and each one manages to sound different from the tune before. Somehow, though, the whole thing just sort of lays there.

Opening song "Rebels in the Roses" bounces along on simple minor-key acoustic guitar chords and a slightly funky drumbeat. Russell Pollard sings sweetly in a relaxed tenor as a couple of electric guitars join in. There's a fuzz-guitar solo about 3/4ths of the way through the song, and it ends with some harmonizing "ah la la"'s from the group. It's a decent start, and second song "Trees" is a good follow-up, with a more upbeat feel and a pleasant country-rock vibe. "Into Your Soft Heart" comes next, with a minor-key groove riding on Jason Soda's Wurlitzer playing. It's another solid song, but not all that catchy. By this time you're starting to wonder if the album is going anywhere.

Everest tries out a bunch of different things while remaining in the same basic "pop/rock with a hint of country" arena. "Black Covers" is a dark song in 3/4 time that has a waltz feel in the verses and an extensive guitar duel in the middle. "Angry Storm" is an acoustic-based country ballad, and album-closer "The Future" is a stark, plaintive song that brings out the Neil Young in Pollard's voice and may give a hint as to why the band is signed to Young's Vapor Records.

Despite the overall effect not being particularly exciting, there are only a couple of real missteps here. "Reloader" is ostensibly the band's out-and-out rocker, but the group doesn't seem to have the energy to pull it off convincingly. Pollard's vocals seem ill-suited to this kind of song. He's supposed to be singing all-out and hitting his highest notes on the album, but he sounds only slightly more intense than on the easygoing songs. And then there's "I See it in Your Eyes", seven minutes and fifteen seconds that should've been three minutes long. The song has a three-and-a-half minute instrumental break where nothing interesting happens, and then it has the audacity to fade out for another two minutes, complete with a false ending.

The press materials for Everest tout the fivesome as "a group of Los Angeles music community alumni and friends" and includes a laundry list of bands the various members have spent time in, name-checking Sebadoh, Earlimart, and The Folk Implosion, among others. The intention seems to be to build up the group's indie/alt-rock cred, but after listening to the album it had the opposite effect on me. Looking at the list after hearing Ghost Notes a few times makes it seem like this is a bunch of good players who have spent their careers working for songwriter-based outfits and decided to form their own band despite not having a strong songwriter in the bunch. That's when it hit me: Everest is Spoon without Britt Daniel, or maybe Wilco without Jeff Tweedy. Take away the charismatic frontman who is also the primary songwriter, and this is what you're left with -- a group of solid players who likely couldn't manage a memorable song on their own.


So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.