When making music, inspiration can come from anywhere. Different moments can create different stories, which is the bedrock of Sean Hopkins’ latest release, “Chasing Ghosts In The Dark.” The album carries the signature acoustic stylings of Hopkins throughout and is a collection of songs whose creation started before the lockdown and then worked into it. The first track, “All I Ever Wanted,” leaves a contemplative first impression that can be felt throughout the album.
The acoustic guitar echoes during the intro, setting up the reverb-laced vocals that follow it. When the drums start up, the track kicks up a notch but grows into a somber atmosphere. The track has a decidedly alt rock feel, with an indie rock edge. The contemplative, airy guitars work well with the deep bass and the acoustic guitars to give the track a good punch when it needs it. The atmosphere of the track gives the dry croons of the vocalist the same somber quality. Lyrics such as “each breath begins a sigh, they’re so eloquently drawn. Portraits fade away in tears, but the innocence is gone” give off an air of loss and sorrow that is palpable when heard.
“Tears Surround You” is another stand-out listen. The soft strums of the acoustic guitar feel warm and welcoming. The vocals that follow shortly after are equally as warm, with an air of calm to them. Lyrically, though, the track conveys anything but these emotions. Lines such as “nothing seems to matter, as your shadow grows more faint. A chance there for the taking, but your silence resonates” and the chorus are heart-wrenching when they sink in. When aided by the soft strums of the guitar and the graceful violins, the emotion hits hard and instantly fills you with the sense of confusion, loss and sadness. It makes “Tears Surround You” a track that’s hard to listen to if you resonate with it, but only because the emotional power behind it hits so hard.
“A Longful Farewell” begins with the busy strumming of the guitar and instantly creates a slightly anxious feeling. The bass is deep, stringy and contemplative as it descends behind the guitars and gives the track a punch. The synths are ethereal and give the track a slightly otherworldly edge, especially with their sparing use. When the sounds all come together, it creates a groovy, ambient beat that is easy to get lost in and move your head to. “A Longful Farewell” is a memorable track that stands out because of its musical aesthetic, with “Winter’ Breath” being the only other track on the album that feels comparable to its sound.
The final track, “It’s Alright” feels like the perfect ending to the album. The contemplative guitars are busy, with the keys of a piano giving them a soft edge. When those disappear to give way for the vocals, the track sounds strikingly like a live performance. The vocal aesthetic feels raw and gives the impression that Sean Hopkins is singing in the same room as you. The beauty is in the details of “It’s Alright.” The way lines such as “siren sounds, how do I know who’s calling? Cuts like a knife. No two are like” are delivered between zips of the hand going up and down the guitar feel like they’re part of the character of the song, adding to the raw feel of the track. This aesthetic makes each time you hear the chorus feel like the first time, leaving a smile on your face as your head moves to each strum of “It’s Alright.”
“Chasing Ghosts In The Dark” is a deeply emotional album and one that feels like Sean Hopkins laying his heart bare. Tracks such as “All I Ever Wanted” and “Tears Surround You” illustrate feelings of loss and sorrow, with a feeling of confused longing that goes all the way until “It’s Alright.” Hurried strumming, ethereal synths and longing basslines bring these feelings to life, with strong vocal performances and lyrical integrity that ranges from contemplative to heart-wrenching. While not every track carries an air of melancholy, as illustrated by tracks such as “Summer Stare” or “A Longful Farewell,” “Chasing Ghosts In The Dark” is a poetic and emotional album that will come as an easy recommendation to the indie rock fan, but has enough charm that anyone should give it a shot.
Leave a Reply