Handsome Ghost - Welcome Back
I came across Handsome Ghost's first EP Steps back in 2015. It was a super vibey, super sensuous version of synthpop, with Tim Noyes and his hip good looks right at the center of it all. The title track was the clear standout from that EP and a song I went back to over and over again. Well now almost three years later Handsome Ghost is finally back with his debut LP, the problem is He may have just missed the boat. In 2015 electropop and synthpop was at an apex, some of the best music was coming from those genres. Over time however the sound has not aged super well and Welcome Back arrives into a world that probably isn't ready to appreciate it. Songs like "Reckless Lover" would have been potential hits years ago but today, they feel to slow, to weighed down and just a bit out of touch. He also suffers from the same issue I mentioned in my review of the Steps EP, He is so one note. The pace never quickens, nothing builds or drops, the songs just sort of wander at this mid tempo level. "Honest Mistake" should have this stellar bridge and chorus but Handsome Ghost does nothing to accentuate those moments. So many opportunities are missed on this record, times where He builds the song into something tense and exciting only to waste it on some sappy love song. "Fool" sounds like it might have been a Dashboard Confessional B-side, but like, worse. It is such a sappy song that making it almost exclusively acoustic feels like a real misstep, but Handsome Ghost makes quite a few on this record.
It's a shame because Noyes has a pretty solid voice and some decent song writing ability, He just cannot bring it all together on this record. "Better Off" sounds exactly like something, but for the life of me I cannot put my finger on the song, but I know I've heard this exact thing before. There needs to be some kind of edge, something with some stakes because this journey through a perfect love like Handsome Ghost portrays on this album is annoying in it's perfectness. Even on "Not the One For You" where you would expect some kind of self reflection or at least something near a point but it never comes. The 41 minute run time feels like two hours because everything sounds like so much of the same over and over. His vocal inflection never changes, the pace never changes even the instrumentation is locked in from the very start. He was clearly going for a vibey emotional album but it is just simply to much. One or two tracks would be fine of this, but nothing stands out like "Steps" did on the original EP and thus it sounds like more of the same, and that just doesn't work.
4.0 out of 10