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One For The Ghost
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  • Pete Astor's 2016 album, Spilt Milk, was a nice comeback for the onetime Weather Prophet. Working with James Hoare (Veronica Falls, Proper Ornaments), he framed his witty songs with subtle musical backing. Two years on and Astor returned with another album of good songs, warm sounds, and seasoned wisdom. With Hoare once again helping out with guitar and production and vocalist Pam Berry also back to provide rich counterpoint to Astor's restrained singing, the sound is very similar to Spilt Milk. The rhythm section is a little tighter and more driving with bassist Franic Rozycki and drummer Jonny Helm on loan from the Wave Pictures. Astor's songs, as always, are closely drawn moments extricated from life, focusing on death quite a bit here. The title of the album comes from his tradition of pouring an extra glass of wine for departed friends and family; the song with the same title is a string of famous artists and their last words. "Tango Uniform" is an affecting portrait of the last moments of life, and "Dead Fred" is sure to draw tears from anyone who has had a loved one pass recently or ever. Berry's backing harmonies on these tracks act like a balm to soothe the raw emotions that Astor transmits, and the gentleness of the melodies keeps them from being unbearable. These songs make up the emotional core of the record, but there are are some lighter moments too, like "Walker"'s peaceful stroll of a tune or "Golden Boy," which kicks up some dust when Hoare rips off some gnarly guitar solos between verses. There are also plenty of quietly rollicking tunes, like "Magician and Assistant" and "You Better Dream," that bring back memories of the Weather Prophets, though that band didn't have quite the same light touch that Hoare and company possess. One for the Ghost shows that Astor's creative rebirth wasn't a fluke, and it's good that he's making albums on a regular basis once again. ~ Tim Sendra
Professional Reviews
Clash (Magazine) - "[I]t's an absolute joy, an urbane, witty, extremely catchy selection of three minute ditties, superbly well-written and expertly arranged."
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