The University of Rhode Island has a vibrant and eclectic music scene, but it doesn’t usually receive the press it should be getting from Providence-based arts publications.
However, one recently formed student band should have the regional press abuzz soon, if the quality of its debut release is any indication.
“(Good),” the first extended play by student indie-pop quartet Brother Ghost, is a set of four solid tracks brimming with shiny power-pop hooks.
This is most apparent on opener “Stay Gold Ponyboy,” with its prominent bass riff and melodic chorus. It is the one track without a ukulele, which the band relies on for the rest of the EP.
Second track “Blackened Under Blue Skies” seems to give a good sketch of the group’s musical boundaries as it switches between quieter ukulele-heavy folk pop and chunky punk pop choruses in the classic loud-quiet-loud style. “Fingerpainting,” the EP’s heaviest track, has a kinetic feeling about it and at times recalls spunky acts like Piebald, Tokyo Police Club and Vampire Weekend.
The final song, “Line and Wires,” is probably the least essential song on the EP. It is a lyrically solid acoustic track, but it doesn’t pack the urgency that the other songs do.
The only real issue to be had with “(Good)” Â is that the production seems a bit flat at points and detracts from some of the vocals.
One of the best things about this record is how cohesive Brother Ghost is as a unit, often locked in melody. One of the band’s members, singer and guitarist Jordan Sereno, has been a known entity on the URI scene for a few years. As a solo act, he has gained a following for his quirky songs and gift for melody. His talent is compounded by that of the group’s other members vocalist-bassist Daniel Haberek, vocalist-keyboardist-ukuleleist Tyler Petit and drummer Steve Anderson.
“(Good)” EP introduces Brother Ghost as a band with huge potential and a hopefully rosy future. It is uncommon for a debut release by a South County band to be this outstanding. It is always good to see a group that expresses as many musical ideas as they do, particularly in the confines of a four-track EP.
The record, which can be purchased on the group’s Bandcamp on a “name your own price” scale, is one of the best pop-rock releases from Rhode Island in some time and should have listeners anticipating their next move.