Jukebox the Ghost – Let Live & Let Ghosts (2008)


Let Live and Let Ghosts

Jukebox the Ghost is a fun band. Let Live & Let Ghosts is a really fun album. If you wanted to be a negative nancy you could be all ‘man this just sounds like some Ben Folds’, but that would just make you lame. Yes, they are a lighthearted piano rock/indie band whose singers often do sound like the aforementioned influence and touring mate (the pianist is even named Ben, too!), but their music is bursting with a youthful energy that has been lacking from Folds’ work for some time now. More importantly, these guys sound like a band, not just one really talented guy with a lot of touring musicians.

In this age of drum comping and perfectly-quantized rhythms, sometimes you forget what it sounds like to hear a couple of dudes play together and just be naturally fucking on-point, and that’s exactly what Jukebox the Ghost are. When you hear them whip out the snappy syncopation on songs like “Hold it In” and “Lighting Myself on Fire”, you can just feel that these are three guys who are very good at what they do and have played together a lot. It’s tough to consistently sell this kind of upbeat jauntiness over the course of a whole album, but this band is just so tight that everything is a pleasure to listen to.

Said jauntiness is balanced out by a recurring sense of biblical apocalypse in the lyrics, mostly in the songs sung by guitarist Tommy Siegel. It’s remarkable on these songs to hear the way in which the band takes such a rudimentary instrumentation (just piano, guitar and drums) and transforms it from the upbeat and poppy to the foreboding and dramatic, all the while retaining the same joyous energy that permeates the record. Never will you be so gleeful singing along to “mom and dad, wake from your slumber, because we’re going to burn this motherfucker down”.




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