Ghostpoet - Some Say I So I Say Light

An intelligent and, most importantly, a cathartic album.

Label: PIAS

Rating: 8

The first single off Ghostpoet’s second album ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ - ‘MSI MUSMID’ - is a track based on a dream he had where, to quote the man himself, “dim sum and noodles were life-long friends who kept squabbling all the time… I try in vain to make sense of it all.’

That just about sums up the charm and magnetism of Obaro Ejimiwe. An auteur who takes the minutia of every day and creates a universe where tales of regret and fear of a wasted life sound mesmerising. His debut album ‘Peanut Butter Blues And Melancholy Jam’ was a very real world poetically re-imagined, a world of cash and carry shops, hungover loathing and playing Pro-Evolution Soccer. We’ve all been there. His sleepy delivery created a dreamlike universe where razor-sharp observations were soundtracked by intelligent self-production.

On ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ he shows no sign of shaking off the existential angst that he carried through the first album. In fact it’s an album which sounds even more foreboding. The glitchy metallic sounds that you find on many of the tracks make for an uncomfortable listen at times. ‘Plastic Bag Brain’, ‘Deaf’ and ‘Comatose’ are titles which tell you enough about that.

But the warmth of his voice and his vision means that this is also an album which pushes and probes and takes his sound in a fascinating darker direction. ‘MSI MUSMID’ for example is built on a doomy piano line haunted by glitches which soundtracks his languorous vocal style.

It’s certainly more experimental – ideas whir around this album. It’s something Ghostpoet has credited to the influence of new co-producer Richard Formby. Together they have pushed his sound even further in all directions, mixing the abstract with all too human stories of doubt and heartbreak.

‘Dorsal Morsel’ highlights this skill with lyrics about spending too much money on Amazon, while Gwilym Gold’s vocals and a beguiling Kraftwerkian synth coda build the track to a beguiling climax.

The almost Burial-esque sonic bleepery of opener ‘Cold Win’ and its mournful horns sets the scene. ‘I rose awake in a dream,’ he says. While on ‘Them Water’ he asks us to ‘send him down the Thames’ and that he ‘can hear those voices calling me again.’

The colour seeps in through Lucy Rose’s beautiful vocals on ‘Dial Tones’, and ‘Plastic Bag Brain’, built on an Afro Beat guitar riff, sees Tony Allen on drums and Dave Okumu from The Invisible on guitar.

Yet for the main this is an album which focuses on bleary contemplation. Of accepting it and getting on. ‘Meltdown’ is a break up song but told in new ways, the inevitable drifting apart of two people who were in love. ‘I don’t mean to disappoint or tear apart, but baby it’s my heart, this time I’ve got to follow it,’ sung over strings and piano, sounds heartbreaking. Okumu returns for ’12 Deaf’ where Ghostpoet talks about how fear has taken over him and he’ll never learn.

An intelligent and, most importantly, a cathartic album it allows Ghostpoet to shed his worries in the most eloquent and interesting ways. On closer ‘Comatose’ over a swirling beat he sings that he feels ‘lower than he’s ever been.’ But there’s hope: ‘I feel like the whole world has turned its back on me, but I don’t feel that it’s a tragedy.’ As it builds into a clatter of off kilter Gameboy noises and strings, there’s a touch of gospel warmth to it, something that feels even optimistic. You know that everything is going to be ok.