BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
If the first album by this aspiring supergroup echoed the promise ushered in with the gathering of such impressive pedigrees, then sophomore set The Ghost of the Mountain sees it through to fruition. Indeed, that debut, The Place We Ran From, clearly showed intent, a desire to blend Anglo-American influences with a stark emotional thrust that could negate the parameters imposed by each of the prior projects. So too, any outfit that could boast the combined talents of Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody, REM’s Peter Buck, Young Fresh Fellow’s Scott McCaughey, Belle and Sebastian’s Richard Colburn and stand-alone talents like Iain Archer, Jacknife Lee and Troy Stewart, would have to assume a meeting of the minds before taking to the studio.
Happily, The Ghost of the Mountain succeeds in every respect, an album that sounds like the product of a group rather than simply a collaboration between like-minded associates. It echoes throughout the stark yet compelling appeal of “I Don’t Want You As A Ghost” (I just want you to be the man you come home to every night”), “Your Way Is The Way Home” and “I’m Begging You Not To Go,” but even when the message is more amorphous, that emotional pull is never far from the surface. It’s evident — and inherent — in songs such as the title track, “The Creak in the Floorboards,” “All Things All At Once” and “Carve Our Names,” romantic notions borne out by the spectral arrangements and shimmering tempos, through Lightbody’s arched vocals and the unceasing feeling that this band is in it for a decided purpose. Anthemic designs such as these often fall flat, a victim of feigned grandiosity and oversized ambitions. With Tired Ponies however, there’s little evidence of false pretence, leaving it to basic abject desire to fuel their gravitas and deliberation. Even when they toss in a line like “Let me shout the sun out of the sky,” on the furtive “Wreckage and Bone,” one never gets the sense they’re not willing to at least give it a try.
DOWNLOAD: “I Don’t Want You As A Ghost,” “I’m Begging You Not To Go,” “Wreckage And Bones”