INSIDE THE GHOST MACHINE- Anda Volley
for fans of: Tom Waits, Bjork, The Postal Service, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
(but totally original)
Every once in awhile music comes out that represents everything I love about art, creativity, doin’ it yourself while doin’ it together, and fostering community and selflessness in completely healthy ways.
Anda Volley is the alternate-musico-personality of (mysterious artist here), beloved founder and organizer of a publishing company and poetry journal called (ommitted due to aliens abduction)
Inside The Ghost Machine is a very important release for a plethora of different reasons. Mostly it appeals to my sense of ethic because Anda is somewhat of a “late bloomer” to actually playing music. Along with her persona making its way into the world somewhere around a month ago, she actually did not start to pick up the guitar until very recently. Around two years before the release of ITGM, self taught discipline and a small community of supportive songwriters she helped to found sparked that inkling inside of her that rockstars and Berklee grads and multi billion record companies don’t want us to realize: that we can do it too.
And now here we have it. Songs that are quirky, interesting, and with a pop sensibility. Anda Volley writes songs that could be on the radio, but be that song on that radio that even people who hate the radio can get behind. That one good song.
Speaking of good songs, I don’t want to get too wrapped up in the story behind the music, because to be honest the tracks are just as compelling as the lead up to pressing start on your CD player (or iTunes player, or whatever the future may hold)
Inside The Ghost Machine ‘s opening credits pull you in just like a great work of cinema. (that is the last movie metaphor I am going to make, I promise). A sort of light industrial beat brings you out of wherever you are and puts you in whatever room you should be listening to this album in. To be clear: Water Is Heavy is my favorite song of the CD. It is a mellow sort of ambient electric guitar tune with soft vocals and a chorus that sticks out of the song and make you love it. The songwriting is lyrically brilliant: some songs have very, very simple lyrics that just tell very simple truths. Example: “Water is Heavy”….Well, yes. Yes it can be! I had never thought of that, but it is totally true. Feelings like that I feel really represent genius songwriting. While many of us are trying to rhyme hysterical with forest, Anda Volley is just stating simple facts beautifully. The almost industrial cityscape turns a bit more towards a rock beat in Laura Inside The Ghost Machine. A clever twist on having a “title track”, this second track seems to be more single quality with repeating, familiar vocal lines. The vocals take a turn for more aggressive shores. Anda has an extremely unique voice that is adventurous and feels like a protagonist.
Torch the Country Side is a jangly folk rock tune that continues the driving beats right into If I Turn Into a Black Rose, which keeps the folky, almost country feel but slows down. Spoiler alert, but these two songs back to back are an extremely wonderful pair. Torch is a wonderful run through a burning field, where afterwards, in the calm, one might find a rose, charred to a crisp. If you touch it, it may crumble. "If I turn into a black rose/ please don’t kiss me goodbye"
If you are still reading this review, do yourself a favor and listen to the album while you are reading it. In case you forgot, there is a player up top, or find the music HERE
Star of The Unborn feels like a science fiction novel wrapped up in a defiant anthem. It is entirely stripped down to one vocal, one rough electric guitar. Very easily a stand out song of the album right up there with Water is Heavy, it is just awesome.
The guitar gets a power-up of some reverb for Idol and the songwriter gets a bit of a break from rocking out for a sparkly, pretty sort of mellow song. This vibe stays weird and gets weirder in King Yellowman, which I admit I do not know enough about music to describe. But luckily I learned the words “Trip Hop and Psyche Folk” from my good friend Shane Hall, so I am going to stick with that. This adventure into the depths of the netherworld continues with Day Unfolding Within, but the music starts to sound a bit more like sunlight balancing off of a car’s front windshield.
A perfect ending to the album is a remix of Idol with a lot more layers on it, which I personally prefer more (I think the vocals might be mixed a little louder in this one?) the extra ambient clouds really bring out the song more and ends with once again, just Anda Volley and her electric guitar and one last, clearly sung note.
All in all, Inside The Ghost Machine is an amazing CD, whether its song-by-song or as a whole listen through, and a very impressive first release. You should all go instantly to her bandcamp, buy the album, and then arrange a show in your bar/living room/community space so that you can meet her, because she is just as awesome as her music is!