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MP3 Michael Korb - Ghosts

The ambitiously self produced debut album that is emotional without the emo, or rock without the gratuitous electric guitars, or pop without insulting your intelligence.

10 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Acoustic, ROCK: Folk Rock

Show all album songs: Ghosts Songs

''I met Michael at Cool Beanz in St. James, at a little open mic where i saw this humble looking character step up to the stage, blatantly adored by the locals. What came out of that seemingly delicate figure draped with a guitar was astonishing. It was easy to harmonize with the deafening applause that naturally follows the finale of every song. A year and some later, this now dear vegetarian (don''t hold that against him), painter friend of mine has finally released his debut CD "Ghosts." Before you judge anything, realize that it was all self-budgeted, produced, recorded, written, performed, synthesized, mixed and mastered. That is a huge, daunting task and responsibility, and yet it sounds like it was professionally done! (and well, it was, but with a stunning personal talented professionalism.)

Honestly in seeing him, you never expect the soft yet powerful vocal delivery; his singing is tremendous and keeps your attention. Which is great because his lyrics are far from your run of the mill corny strings of words, even when attacking familiar topics such as a broken heart: on the mind-blowing calm yet gripping finisher "Slow Incline" he says heart-wrenchingly, and poetically "I gave you this body to haunt, given you everything i''ve got, still you''ve found more to want." But even after the vocals are absorbed (and you''re begging for more after the hour long 10 tracks) you''ll be floored by his musical talent and imagination with the flawless meshing of instruments. He handles his guitar non-chalantly in person while his fingers fly creating flowing soundscapes to ground his heady literature.

The opener "May Well Be" comes in with his stylistic strong yet mellow sound, a definite keeper.

"Disappear" follows with perfect flow and a catchy chorus, with beautiful imagery and dream-like lyricism, and you''ll find yourself singing this one (and frustrated you cant hit the notes).

"Force Majeure" comes next with an oddly phrased and still attractive story telling of an impossible love, over cinema-esque violin work, and i have my own ideas of what most of the story tells literally but the fun is in deciding for yourself.

Local favorite "Empire State Building" is inspired by the 9-11 attacks and is one of the greater songs i''ve heard in reaction to the event. Told in first person, the fright is shown nicely in the story telling "see the building on its side, try and find a place to hide" and the repetition of the word "run and won" is effective, as the music builds. He also has his own clever observations on multiple sides of the issue "theres as many who cheer as the people who fear..". A personal favorite song of mine, the instrumental is intense on this song, the guitar playing is ridiculous, though the guitar talent is bogged down in the production compared to the live performance, it still shines. The percussion really strikes here as peppy and incredible, at about 5 minutes into the song i cant help but hit rewind a couple times when the vocals break out and the drums dance over the guitar.

"Excuses" is short, personal and inspiring. I find it a little cryptic, but reading into it a couple of ways i believe it''s a brutally honest reflection and an attempt to turn around the downfalls of oneself, that i believe we all can learn from "if only you could be amazed by your own life" ... an excellent song for sure.

"Close Your Eyes" is perhaps the most "pop style" song on the album, and that doesn''t say anything bad on it either. A strong and embittered conversation style song on a relationship turned sour with the partner being the culprit. A definite keeper, one you''ll be singing loud and often.

Next comes what may be Korb''s most famous song, "Circles," a poetic, haunting and cryptic song with a clever and catchy chorus, seemingly a complaint about a stagnation and observations of a cold surrounding community. The title track, he says, is the first song he wrote, and very descript, haunting sound effects (no pun intended, but his placement certainly intentional). This one is a real mellow atmospheric song, where his lines come in a little akward placement that are sometimes hard to string and follow. Something to drive to, the longest song on the album clocking in at 8 minutes and 20 seconds.

What follows is a quick change to upbeat and promising "New Day". This almost has a different sound than the rest of the album, with a more jazzy rock sound, the instrumentals almost reminiscent of Incubus. My girlfriend and I both noted firstly that initially the vocals don''t match the instrumentals completely. After further listens, its just something you have to get used to and everything falls into place in it''s own style. This song also introduces the electric guitar to the album. The chorus is catchy as hell, powerful, cinematic and hopeful, this is one of my favorites now and definitely a keeper.

"Slow Incline" is the finale and wow. WOW is it GRAND. Though heart-wrenching, his honesty is beautiful, and the depression shines through, but the music is so compelling you aren''t dragged into a hole where you forget you are being entertained as opposed to being coated with someone''s woes. This song typifies and is easily identifiable for anyone who has been through heartbreak and was clearly written in the moment. The album ends at the perfect time, sending you through the perfect journey of thought and emotion and dreamy imagery.

According to the brutally personal and eye opening, ear catching lyrics, intense musical composition, flawless production on Ghosts, the road ahead for Michael Korb''s music career will be anything but a slow incline.''

-Bruce Pandolfo
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