Static Love: Ghostbunny’s Silver Tongue is a Good but Not Quite Great Debut LP

by Jake Muncy

Ghostbunny Silver Tongue

I’m having trouble getting into the new Ghostbunny album. I’ve been putting off this album review for that very reason—after a couple weeks of listening, I’m still just not sure what to say about it. Not that it’s bad, exactly. In a lot of ways it’s very good. It reminds me of things I love. But I can’t find my entry point. In my mind, it’s a room with no doors, a fence with no hole to crawl under and a little too tall to jump. I think I’d like to get in there, though.

Let’s start with the boilerplate stuff, then. This is Silver Tongue, the first full-length by Ghostbunny, a rock act who bills themselves as “dark disco,” and who we’ve featured before. I’m not convinced that this album is substantially dark, at least so far as indie rock goes, but it’s certainly featuring some disco flair. There are vibrant, jangly melodies here, loud crinkled guitars and a creeping, meticulous groove that reminds me occasionally of the dancier parts of LCD Soundsystem. These elements exist alongside your standard rock-song structure, complete with slightly washed-out Modest Mouse vocals and that vague sense of being drunk and a little lonely at a house party.

Maybe that’s my problem? Taken together, Silver Tongue feels tied down by how standard it is. It’s as if there’s something in their sound that hasn’t quite crystallized yet. Writing last year about Ghostbunny’s self-titled EP, Carter Delloro referred to a lot of the material as “serviceable indie rock,” elevated by the vigor and proficiency of the presentation but still fundamentally familiar. Silver Tongue, I think, pushes the band’s sound further a couple of important steps, but still hasn’t quite gotten past that point. There’s a force field of standard indie sound here, pushing me away from the better, more exciting elements.


And the exciting elements are there. The best tracks here blend blues rhythms with an energetic ‘70s verve, sort of like if The Black Keys went to Studio 54 and then started actually playing good music. “New New York” almost achieves banger status, a high-octane dance party of a track that’s been stuck in my head the entire time I’ve been writing this. And the production has an impressive amount of texture and depth, emphasizing the careful control of sound on display here and letting every individual string and note hang and echo and shine. The best parts of this album feel luminous, soaked in atmosphere and joy. It’s earnest, direct, vibrant.

But it’s just not quite… there. The stronger parts of the album tend to get lost a little too often, and the energy seems to drop off a bit in the second half. It’s always a listenable album, but I never found myself getting engaged by it, not exposed to the stuff about it I really liked for long enough to dig in. Which left me always a bit on the outside, interested but distanced, never quite figuring out how to dig in. And yet I’m not quite sure what could have been done to make it otherwise. If that’s frustrating for you, well, me, too.

Jake Muncy is a freelance writer, editor, and poet living in Austin, TX. In addition to writing for Ovrld, he contributes to The AV Club, is the Games Editor of Loser City and his writing can be found anywhere else he can convince people to post it. You can contact him by email or twitter, where he tweets regularly about video games, the Mountain Goats, and sandwiches. He has very strong feelings about Kanye West.