Holiday Ghosts – West Bay Playroom : Album Review

Now before I go any further, I should probably admit that I had never listened to much of Holiday Ghosts’ output until West Bay Playroom. And boy, have I been missing out! Originally a solo project of Sam Stacpoole, the addition of Katja Rackin on drums, Ryan Cleave on Bass and Charlie Fairbairn on Guitar completed the line-up of the Falmouth four piece.

“After a while, it wasn’t just that the acoustics were great, or that the room allowed us to set up and record live, it became more about the feeling of the place, and the experiences that we had there. The setting was really important.”

Katja Rackin

After releasing a self-titled debut in 2017, the band found themselves musically homeless after the closure of their previous base of operations, Troubadour Studios. Relocating to Sam’s childhood home in nearby Maenporth, they took over an old playroom. Giving birth to the title of this second Long Player, West Bay Playroom. The room became not just a rehearsal and writing space, but also their recording space.

The sound of West Bay Playroom has an enjoyable 60’s Psychedelic Garage sound that runs deep with influences from The Velvet Underground, Violent Femmes and The Modern Lovers. Slipstream has a mellow chilled out vibe style to it akin to the Beatles in some respects. And as someone who likes their music loud with plenty of guitar riffs, their sound is a refreshing change for me. Stuck Here continues with a slight 60s feel and is a chilled out track ideal after a hard day at work, with the need to unwind for a while.

Special mention should probably go to Just A Feeling. There’s a country sound to it, not in a tacky way, but an enjoyable way. There can be a snobbery associated with certain styles of music. However, you certainly do not have to feel any type of embarrassment, as the track just demonstrates that Holiday Ghosts are a great band with great tunes. Certainly deserving of more coverage and attention in the media than they currently receive.

Likewise, Champs would fit in well at a country night, but tinged with a folksy sound, which fits with the flow of the record. The blends of 60s psych with elements of folk and country, complements the album as a whole.
As a package, I really liked the album artwork for West Bay Playroom. It is colorful and grabs the listener’s attention. Making them want to discover who is behind this bright and striking piece of artwork.

Holiday Ghosts have a sound I love and it’s a great shame more people don’t know about this band. West Bay Playroom is an album of great music that left me wishing I had discovered them sooner, and a desire to see them live. Don’t miss out on Holiday Ghosts, and this highly recommended album.

Holiday Ghosts’ West Bay Playroom is released February 15th on Punk Slime Records and can be pre-ordered here.

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