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10 Years: (How To Live) As Ghosts

Having intimated that their 2015 album, From Birth To Burial, would be their swansong, American rock outfit 10 Years return with (How To Live) As Ghosts, an album titled to suggest the band are now living beyond life itself. The action that prompted this unexpected return was the reconciling of lead singer Jesse Hasek with guitarist/drummer Brian Vodinh and guitarist Matt Wantland after the pair departed prior to From Birth. The introduction of producer Nick Raskulinecz key to the evolution of the band's outlook and approach. Gone are the multi-layered textural vocals, while the song writing for this album became much more of a team effort between the reunited core trio than before. With Hasek also suggesting that he's 'grown up' lyrically, there's a shift there too, a more personal air aligned to a world view now arriving in place of the more abstract approach he used to favour.

Combining an alt-rock edge to a more traditional, but still modern rock attack, (How To Live) As Ghosts certainly hits as a more mature, confident and inclusive take on a sound the band's fans will still recognise. Yet there are clear difference here between what's been offered up now and what's come before. I'd suggest that not only will this be something that the band's long term followers will be able to get behind, but also should attract new acolytes to the cause. The mid-album pairing of "Ghosts" (which is in effect the title track of the album) and "Blood Red Sky" prime examples. The former a bustling muscular outburst that bristles with authentic energy through thick riffs and Hasek's clear vocals, while the latter utilises a slow build and deep set melody to make a long lasting impact. The most impressive aspect being the lack of bluff and bluster involved in making these songs – and the others – as thoroughly believable as they are, the underlying guitar line in "Blood Red…" drawing you deeper and deeper into the song's structure.

With "Phantoms" quickly followed by "Vampires" there are also some lyrical themes that run between the songs, the message being that we're all so fixated on what happens after life that we forgot to live it. Interestingly as he strikes these emotions, Hasek has a strangely, if hardly unwelcome hint of Morten Harket (a-ha) in his voice, the tough fragility coming through when he stretches the notes. Something that the call and response of "The Messenger" benefits from hugely, as the drums construct a solid base and the guitars bite deep. If you were looking for faults, you could suggest that as you spend more time with this album, there does become an apparent lack of diversity from song to song, and some of the same tricks do crop up in more than one place, but in truth, it's an issue you have to go looking for rather than one staring you in the face.

I'm not sure if only two years away from action can really be classed as a 'comeback' and yet the return of the original trio that comprises 10 Years does find the band reinvigorated and delivering an album that's well worth spending quite a lot of time with.

Track Listing
1. The Messenger
2. Novacaine
3. Burnout
4. Catacombs
5. Ghosts
6. Blood Red Sky
7. Phantoms
8. Vampires
9. Halos
10. Lucky You
11. Insomnia

Added: October 21st 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: 10 Years online
Hits: 1260
Language: english

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