The Left Ready – Ghost
The Left Ready’s steady, but notable, rise into public attention is a classic story of musicians organically discovering their path. Originally formed under the moniker The Mike Murray Trio, the band’s quick evolution led to a change in direction and the unit soon transformed into The Left Ready. For the recording of their 2014 self-titled debut EP, the three musicians relocated to Southern California and sought out quality collaborators to deliver the best possible result. The EP’s success resulted in high profile gigs and immediate commercial attention. A year later, the band has now released their second EP entitled Ghost, a five-song collection demonstrating the same commitment to musical and songwriting excellence that quickly defined its predecessor.
Even a first time listener will know they are in safe hands after hearing “In Like a Lion”. The first track accomplishes all of the goals that an opener should – the fiery balance achieved by the band sets an unmistakable tone for the rest of the album and serves notice about the band’s intentions. The lyrical content revolves around personal relationships, but avoids any of the clichés common to the subject. “I Am A Ghost” lives and dies with its quasi-blues stomp but it’s far from the only element distinguishing this powerful track. Vocalist Mike Murray has an extraordinarily emotive quality in his voice and his phrasing bubbles over with inventive phrasing that helps dramatize the song. “Will to Survive” is another intense rock-oriented outing, but the bluesy bite heard in the preceding song clamps down harder here. Murray’s vocal bristles here with added spark as his emotions vividly spill into his performance.
“Hell in a Handbasket” takes a venerable old phrase and breathes new life into it thanks to another monumental guitar rocker that largely dispenses with the blues influence heard in the last two tracks. Instead, “Hell in a Handbasket” is a much leaner and meaner affair with a comparatively simple structure. The EP’s closer “Out Like a Lamb” earns it title as The Left Ready shift gears from intense rockers into something much grander, a three piece fluent enough to fuse the previously heard elements into something gentler and more considered, but no less dramatic.
It’s a stirring ending to Ghost. Over the course of the EP’s five songs, the band delivers a clinic on hybridizing a number of genres into a coherent, fresh whole and proves their ability at writing accessible, wildly entertaining material.
8 out of 10 stars