The self-titled album from Lusitanian Ghosts is a rock ‘n’ roll experience of a different kind. The Deluxe Edition was released late last year and has just made its way to my door. This musical collective features Neil Leyton, who will be well known to many of the readers here, having previously worked with a wide range of rockers from The Dogs D’amour to Ginger. He also, of course, has his own glittering career, which has also seen contributions from rock royalty such as the Backyard Babies. Leyton is a man of many talents, and I personally remember him from the much-missed Changes One record label days, where we used to have the odd chat over email. A lot of time has passed since then and I must admit to having fallen out of the loop for a while. And from what I can gather this is his first full album of original material since 2010’s The Betrayal of the Self. As I have said, however, this is a collective and more than the work of one man – and with it comes an entirely new sound, interestingly making use of traditional chordophone instruments: guitar-like, stringed instruments which also includes the lutes or lyres that we may often see accompanying Shakespeare plays. The group includes Micke Ghost, João Sousa, Omiri, O Gajo, members of Primitive Reason and other artists.
This new Portuguese musical project utilises these instruments in a more modern way, mixing a blend of traditional and rock ‘n’ roll sounds. It’s an inspiring, folk/rock mix which needs to be heard to be understood. The album kicks off with a short acoustic folk affair, with the breezy ‘A Long Time Ago…’, which sets out the attitude of the album before heading into the more rocking ‘The World’. While I’m hesitant to draw a lazy comparison to Santana, this opening of this song certainly bears that resemblance, particularly with the fat, smooth tone of the electric guitar over the acoustic arrangement. The album itself doesn’t bear out the comparison. Being such a creative project, the Lusitanian Ghosts album takes many twists and turns while always maintaining a very singular thread throughout – a constant traditional sound underlying it. The light indie sounds of the flowing ‘Trailer Park Memories’, or the rousing chorus of ‘Past Laurels’ with its singalong of ‘we are the truth to power’, mark for an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable album. While personally other highlights include ‘Godspeed to You’, the Bowie-esque ‘Memories of a Once Familiar Future’ or the great ‘Our Own Light’, there is no filler here, as every song serves to support the next. Interestingly, alongside the album is a release of a documentary which explores the history of these wonderful traditional instruments which are used to craft this most interesting of records. Watching that is the next thing on my to-do list. Meanwhile, listening to this, it is certainly good to have Leyton back recording, and with such strong material.
Author: Craggy Collyde