GHOST & WRITER is a project group devised by JIMMYJOE SNARK III, a man of multiple talents featured as VIVA MUSIC’s Artist of the Month in October 2010, and SEABOUND’s Frank Spinath – a killer combination that comes with a great concept album and good vibes. Prior to the album’s release, JIMMYJOE SNARK III confessed to VIVA MUSIC that “Shipwrecks” comes as a mirrored structure of 8 tracks and their remixes, with a Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde quality to it: “both Frank and I are involved in different bands and projects, so there are some elements we put in here and not there, maybe because that is not the right project for it, and in that sense, there is a Dr. Jeckyll aspect to how we behave”’. The album, to be released on January-28 by DEPENDENT RECORDS, benefits from the creative input of FRONT 242’s Daniel B.’s remastering, and is an enthusing listen, of great picturesque content and compels to multiple auditions.
The opening track, “From Hell” is a de profundis call that truncates a vibrant message that fails to pierce the gates of hell and burns on the way to its recipient. A great composition, “From Hell” (2nd rendition: IRIS), is a masterpiece that sets in motion the entire album, that recalls to a large extent the contemporary malaise of not being able to get your message across in a tangled web of communication the chaos of which spells out as sheer hell. “Hitman” (2nd rendition: FILE NOT FOUND) has a very danceable beat and reminds of a video game (incidentally, JIMMYJOE SNARK III is a video game music composer, too), but it is more than just a simple video game jingle, a fully fledged melody that comes with a compass for labyrinth of sound it produces.
At a different angle, “Capsized” (2nd rendition: EDGE OF DAWN) has a symphonic quality and although the song had been released before, it spreads out and ravishes at the full tilt of experimentation. “Nightshift” (2nd rendition: DISKONNECTED) is interspersed with vintage like interludes and excels with its reassuring tone. The asymmetrical past/future romanticism, expressed in a nutshell in the line “I used to be a new romantic” is a tender and sincere reminder that accurate and well-tuned feeling does not guarantee happiness in a contemporary surrounding, a theme-like memento of the entire album. “Man on a Wire” (2nd rendition: VERSUS) is a great song that poses a modern skirmish of the options man faces or faced in his past, vividly pacing through what now seems better opportunities one did not manage to secure in the past. Just like “unused chances of exit”, these options torment and give the individual a better understanding of who he is, and where he is heading to.
“Minefields” (2nd rendition: GHOST) is full of zest, especially as it rushes on the listener the question, “what do you know about pain?”. “Minefields” would better be spotted by film producers and included in an Academy Award candidate movie: it bundles a lot of musical qualities that would perfectly illustrate a movie scene. “Integrity” (2nd rendition: THE ALPHA CONSPIRACY) is actually about lost integrity, and about the efforts to keep it on when all life situations and interactions point to the opposite direction of integrity, while forgetfulness and apathy have us take every old deadbeat beat for a new and fresh one. “Fraud” (2nd rendition: ACRETONGUE), the closing track of “Shipwrecks”, is a taste-of-summer electro ballad with simmering instruments and vocals.
To recap, GHOST & WRITER’s “Shipwrecks” is a diligent and at moments philosophical contemplation of today’s state of being marooned in everyday contexts that defy the core principles of togetherness and belonging that all human beings crave for. A good listen for all seasons, “Shipwrecks” is not at all condescending, and it brings together musician and listener as one. VIVA MUSIC recommends this as a potential candidate album for our scene in 2011 and genuinely hopes that this is not the last we hear from JIMMYJOE SNARK III and Frank Spinath.