The Midnight Ghost Train – Cypress Ave

After one listen to ‘Cypress Ave’ by Kansas stoners The Midnight Ghost Train, MonkHammer sent a colleague, who had yet to hear it, a review that ended “what the fuck did I just listen to?”. Said colleague later granted permission to quote him “a true fan who is scared, conflicted, concerned, confused and troubled”, and he has every right to be. 2015’s ‘Cold Was The Ground’ was a swaggering bastard blues stoner rock masterpiece that rumbled with guttural hobo menace, but its follow-up seems to shuffle uneasily, confused by its own existence. The album starts well with the double tap of sorrowful blues storm ‘Tonight’ and well-chosen lead single ‘Red Eyed Junkie Queen’, a filthy return to the CKY/Kyuss mould of old, followed by a second pairing of hazy burns that satisfy the stoner blues middle ground. So far, so good. But then things start to unravel. Track five itself is OK, a languid, dusty cowboy drawl that nestles in its own undergrowth, but after 5 long mins of desperation, it grinds to a halt before building up to, note-for-note, THAT riff from Muse’s ‘Knights of Cydonia’, the first of many giant WTFs that pepper the second half like buckshot. ‘Break My Love’ comes across like a secret hidden track, a Flight of the Conchords-esque Muddy Waters parody, but deadly serious; while ‘Lemon Trees’ evokes Tom Waits soundtracking Blaxploitation porn; and ‘Black Wave’ is essentially ‘I Could Have Lied’ by RHCP on temazepam, but the biggest furrowed brow comes from ‘The Boogie Down’, which blends jive-talkin’ disco funk with the rambling wordplay of rapper Sonny Cheeba. It is undeniably the best song on the album, but so far removed from literally everything else in the TMGT canon that you wonder if someone clicked the wrong link when sending the album to the label. In fairness, none of these tracks are necessarily bad, and most would work well on their own as part of a classic Ghost Train album, but as a collective the experience carries the undeniable musk of a stoner midlife crisis.

TMGT Cypress

Categories: Album Reviews, Reviews

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