Review: Ghostbound – For My Sweet Mary Thyme EP (2021)


Ghostbound was founded as the vehicle for the song writing of Brooklyn-based musician/actor Alec A. Head. To accommodate playing live as well as strengthening its line-up vocalist and guitarist Alec has welcomed Noah Shaul (bass), Talha Alvie (guitars, synthesizers) and David E. Richman (drums) into the fold. The band have just released a five track extended play `For My Sweet Mary Thyme`. It consists of a “suite” of songs that are all tied together via an oceanic, maritime theme. The EP also sees a “loosening of the reins”, as it were; while Head wrote the bedrock of the material, every member had a hand in the arrangement thereof, resulting in a concise, moving, and altogether other-worldly experience.

`And We Are Already At Sea` opens this extended play with the sound of water sloshing up the side of a boat with drums and guitar riffs that seem a little antagonistic then more striding. There are flowing synth like textures in the background that allow the vocal to swim atop with lyrics that seem to be a metaphor on our path or journey through life. The number is quite mesmerising with some really interesting intricate guitar chords right at the end.

There`s an acoustic guitar leading us into `Ada, Age Of Eight` before a fast paced driving rock assault leads us through this possible lyrical spiritual awakening of sorts. We enjoy some delightful acoustic and electric guitar solo breaks mid-way through with the last minute of so becoming a quite ambient atmospheric instrumental reflection.

`Bosun`s Lament` takes off from where the previous track ended, in that the one seems to flow into the other. It`s a tale of a crew that are either slaves, convicts or dead souls chained and rowing towards dry land, possibly redemption or nirvana. It talks of feathers which symbolise trust, honour, strength, wisdom, power, and freedom that are being removed from them, maybe determining their fate. The last couple of minutes fade with a slightly edgy, unnerving instrumental backdrop possibly reflecting the inevitable situation that these lost souls face.

Entrancing, rhythmic drumming and guitar riffs lead us into and along title track `For My Sweet Mary Thyme` with bass lines and synth waves complementing this recurring beat and a chanted / sung / spoken word section pledging the level of sacrifice that the narrator would go to for their sweet Mary Thyme.

This extended play which is more of a mini-LP closes with `Seaward` an instrumental composition. It`s a kind of dreamlike structure that the whole band contribute to, joining together to offer an almost spiritual sacrificial immolation of sorts that ends with sea lapping against a shoreline perhaps.

I must confess that Ghostbound and `For My Sweet Mary Thyme` needs a few listens but then it starts to almost overwhelm you. I felt musically it was quite hypnotic. experimental, kind of alternative art rock with progressive elements. Lyrically it was contemplative pensive and maybe hinted at some religious or spiritual connotations or implications. It certainly had my brain`s grey matter cracking up. A marvellously thought provoking offering. Mary Thyme must be one hell of a sweet lady.

Rating 9/10

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