Fingertips Explores the Archives: As Tall As Lions - Ghosts of York
Jeremy from Fingertips joins us each month as he scours the betterPropaganda archives, highlighting gems buried a few years back in our database.
This week we bring you "Ghosts of York" from As Tall As Lions.
"Ghosts of York" manages the clever trick of being both atmospheric and emphatic, combining the feel of a more noodly type of guitar rock with the smart, concise dynamics of a great pop song. Look at the ground covered here, so quickly: we get an introspective guitar line for all of 13 seconds before the vocalist sings a slow, emotive section for maybe another 15 seconds, and then, bam, the drummer hits the ground running, yet with everything around him still feeling restrained; at the same time you may notice a wall of sound building the energy towards something bigger. This is already engaging, very much so, but these guys have barely started. Just past 50 seconds, the sonic tension cracks open into a clear, decisive melody (note the nice use of octave harmonies right here), and even this is just a set-up for the central hook at 1:06--the melody there featuring a deeply pleasing modulation from a minor chord to the major chord one full step below. (There's probably a name for that, theory-wise, that escapes me.) This is the part that completely slayed me, and even after this there's more, including a bridge with a trickier time signature, then a dramatic building-back of the wall of sound, and then a combination of the time tricks and the wall at the very end. Good stuff. As Tall As Lions is a foursome from Long Island; "Ghosts of York" is a song from the band's self-titled debut CD, released in 2006 on Triple Crown Records.
- Jeremy Schlosberg