Mr Blue – Love Ghost (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Well, thanks be to the Gods of Music, the viola is back in the mix. After falling for the classical vibes that Mya Greene’s viola (okay, I said violin at the time but I defy anyone outside the classical world to be able to spot the difference) brought to the proceedings on Nowhere and then yearned for them when they failed to be a major feature of Parasitical Identity, it’s great to hear its short but sweeping  grooves underpinning the riff here. It isn’t doing that much but it still manages to colour the music in such a way that makes it stand out from the rest of the alt-rock pack. Sometimes it is the subtle musical lines that do so much of the interesting work.

Not that Mr Blue isn’t interesting, it’s great. It plays with musical dynamics brilliantly, powering on and laying off just at the right moments, it blends a grungy, 90’s alt-rock vibe with a dark yet melodic accessibility and, as if they had listened to my urges in a previous review to use the viola in more of a leading role, it fills many of the interludes between lyrics with eloquent and elegant wandering, gypsy-esque soloing.

So, as always, the devil is in the detail. Whilst Love Ghost write perfectly marketable alt-rock songs, ones that have a natural looseness, an inherent groove and enough of an infectious way about them so that they stay unbidden in your head for a long time afterwards, always the acid test, I still say that it is the viola that provides the real selling point. Without it the band is perfectly good, able to hold its ground for sure and Mr Blue a song that will catch peoples ears. But use to its full potential and they seem to cross a line that moves them into more rarefied territory and which marks them out as wonderfully interesting and above all memorable. When all is said and done, memorable is what it all comes down to.

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