Kacey Johansing is back today with Grand Ghosts, her sophomore LP, blending styles of folk, pop and jazz into a mystical sound on par with My Brightest Diamond or St. Vincent. Moody and laid back, Johansing casts a dreamy haze throughout highlight song “Pinecone”, sliding her vocals up and down to compliment a light, jazzy shuffle in backing instrumentation.
There’s a lot going on here. From an array of keyboard, synthesizer and xylophone features to Kacey’s quite stunning vocal display. It continues with a haunting piano melody in title track “Grand Ghosts”. This moodier theme is rampant throughout the new LP, contrasting with the much more upbeat nature of her solo debut, Many Seasons (2010).
The press release casts light onto the darkness within Grand Ghosts:
Sonically and thematically darker than her debut album Many Seasons (2010), Grand Ghosts grapples with loss, paying homage to loved ones who passed during the making of the record.
This seems a common theme of late, as we already heard a similar story from Youth Lagoon on the stunning song “Dropla” off his forthcoming Wondrous Bughouse.
Not all hope is lost. “Honey” has a more upbeat, positive sound that keeps the album dynamic and interesting. Then, matching “Pinecone” as the album highlight is the time-signature-bending “Only The Heart”, which has jazzy percussion and dives into a lightly shoe-gaze-y guitar toward the end.
Throughout, Kacey Johansing has pieced together an impressive LP in Grand Ghosts that tweaks your psyche from emotional highs to lows, all the while mastering the marriage of folk-pop with the genres of jazz and even a hint of classical. This is not an easy feat, yet listening to Grand Ghosts, Johansing achieves it with seemingly effortless prowess.
Once again, the new LP is out today, February 26. Listen to “Pinecone” below.