Album Review: Ghostpoet – I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep

We’ve long been fans of Obaro Ejimiwe, aka Ghostpoet and so we waited with baited breath for the Mercury-Music nominated artist to reveal his fifth album ‘I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep’, out this Friday 1st May via Play It Again Sam.

Written and recorded in London and featuring more of the alt-rock married with some smoky electronica that has flavoured his last two records, Ejimiwe has brought in collaborators such as Art School Girlfriend, Skinny Girl Diet’s Delilah Holiday, SaraSara and Katie Dove Dixon, all of which breathe life into their tracks.

What Ghostpoet has made is something that fits this difficult, claustrophobic time, and although written much before these present Covid-19 times, Ejimiwe clearly has difficult issues on his mind he wants to get out, and has made music to match.

Right from the off, in the crackling, rough edged ‘Breaking Cover’, full of post-rock/punk guitar lines in miniature, shards of electronics and woozy chords Ghostpoet exhales ‘I wanna die… it’s getting kind of calm’. Following on, lead single ‘Concrete Pony’ offers more of Ghostpoets mindset in the recording – ‘desperately needing a pause’ he employs in his typically matter of fact delivery that, as is often the case, makes you take him (and it) more seriously. All of this comes over insistent piano lines and ominous guitar noise.

Elsewhere on the record, its much the same, this sense of almost desperation and self-questioning providing a dense backsdrop. The brooding, almost bad tempered Humana Second Hand swerves this way and that, while This Trainwreck of a life, although beautiful and full of these brushed chords and soaked in echo, won’t make many first dances any time soon.

That’s not to say it completely wallows in this haunting, morose bleakness. ‘When Mouths Collide’ has a sense of moving forward about it, and the title track is an atmospheric alt rock track, complete with muscular guitar lines and driving rhythm section.

What might, in the hands of a less skilled artist, been a depressing, despair-ridden dirge is actually a record of Haunting beauty. Lyrically often a difficult listen, but the fact is he wraps it up in such good tunes that his stories become more vivid and thought provoking as a result. That baited breath has been hooked, and so have we. Job done.

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