Afraid of Ghosts
Reviewed by: Jane Roser
With a diverse resume and ability to transform his range from one genre to the next, Butch Walker’s highly anticipated seventh full-length album is the culmination of years of blood, sweat and tears explaining that he’s “been waiting to make this album my whole life.”
Released on Dangerbird Records and produced by Ryan Adams at his PAX AM Studios in L.A. along with special guests Johnny Depp and Bob Mould, Afraid of Ghosts chronicles Walker’s life after his father’s death with gritty, haunting ballads. The tracks will tug on your heartstrings and could nearly drown you in bittersweet sorrow, were it not for the beautiful, poetic lyrics which remind you of your humanity and bring you down to earth.
With the exception of “I Love You” (which has a catchy beat), all ten tracks are simple ballads, utilizing acoustic guitar, piano and accordion as their basic accompaniment. “How Are Things, Love” is a lovely waltz in the tradition of 50s Everly Brothers pop-style tunes. “Bed of Fire” was my favorite track; I kept thinking how its percussion driven beat and film noir lyrics would be perfect in a Quentin Tarantino picture. Walker wrote “Autumn Leaves” for an old friend whose wife passed away from cancer; this along with the title track and final song, “The Dark”, he incorporates descriptive narratives to tell tales of love and loss; using sounds, smells and memories to bring these stories to life and to give them depth, hope and, yes, despair.
This album is relatable, poetic and an all-encompassing treasure.