With a melodic bass line, atmospheric piano refrain, and well-placed, chimed accents, “Ghost Maps” sweeps us without resistance into its briskly-rendered nostalgia before a word is even uttered. Once the singing starts, Ben Walpole, with his soft-spoken, Stuart Murdoch-y croon, manages the keen trick of being both front man and band member, his voice finding its central but not over-bearing place among the guitars and chimes and female harmonies and indistinct wash of background sound, all coursing along at a near-breathless pace. On the one hand this does make the lyrics somewhat harder to discern, but on the other hand, it renders the often wistful phrases that come to the foreground all the more redolent. The whole thing feels like someone rifling through a photo album too quickly to see anything but a Kodachromatic blur of oranges and yellows at once bleached and vibrant.
“Ghost Maps” is one of two singles the band has released in advance of its next album—you can download this one here, or both of them together via a .zip file on the band’s site. The album is to be entitled North College Hill and is slated for a release some time this fall on Datawaslost Records. It’s the Cincinnati-based septet’s sixth full-length album and their first since 2009’s This Story Is Old, I Know, But It Goes On. The band has been featured on Fingertips both in 2009 and in 2006. MP3 via Datawaslost.