Ghost is Dancing – Battles On

January 01, 1970



the opening salvo of Battles On, The
Ghost is Dancing’s second album, the battle is indeed engaged. A parade-ground
drum tattoo leads to a swirling keyboard figure, propelling “Dream of a
Failed Architect” onto the front lines. Such martial moments recall the
golden age of Celtic combat-rock (U2’s War,
just about anything by the Alarm).


might also compare The Ghost to the Arcade Fire, and not just because both are
Canadian. The Toronto
sextet shows a similar relish for the dramatic, as well as a kindred taste for
augmenting beefed-up folk-rock with chamber-classical timbres. A trumpet
fanfare provides the coda to “Rogues and Heroes,” and piano and strings
open “Stick Together,” which builds from old-fashioned ditty to power
ballad (boosted again by trumpet).


Yet Battles On is more frisky than
ponderous, because the songs are compact, the melodies are bright and female
singer Lesley Davies is more attuned to nursery rhymes than operatic arias. Her
voice sets the tone for the half-twee, half-epic title track, while her tiny
“uh-uh-uhs” bring a glimmer of “O Superman” minimalism to
the grandiose “Flashing Pictures.” A “na-na-na” chorus
propels “This Thunder,” one of the album’s standouts, and such
agreeably breezy touches abound. Whatever this war is about, it’s not all that


Standout Tracks: “This
Thunder,” “Battles On” MARK JENKINS




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