I heard some girl the other day tell someone “live your best life.” It sounded stupid at first and then the plainness of it kinda hit me and then it sounded stupid again. Maybe stupid’s not the right word. But anyways I was left with the feeling of “no kidding.” I mean of course live your best life. What are you some kinda moron? Anyways so I’m listening to the latest solo release Ghost Fumes by Chicago’s very own Eric Quigley. Quigley spends the majority of his music making efforts fronting the Chicago rock band One More Moon. But he keeps the sadder and more personal stuff to himself, and then releases those songs under his own name.
I’ve never heard any of Quigley’s previously released solo material, so I decided to take a spin through his sophomore record Miles from the Fire which had the soft and mellow, late night DIY vibe all over it. The major difference on Ghost Fumes is that the songs sound more carefully structured, more professionally tailored, and his canvas now is much more vast, his scope further reaching.
Ghost Fumes opens with the slow rolling folksy Americana of “SPIN,” which after a few washes kinda sounds a bit like a mishmash of Elliot Smith and Andrew Bird during different moments in their careers. The next tune “Hour Hand” opens with that same slow boil stature but then turns into a rollicking folksy hymn. “Hour Hand” which is nuanced beautifully by the addition of backing vocals by Katie Kadan. Quigley’s own vocals, I should note, also add to the sheer power and force of his songs.
When he is alone with a rambling acoustic guitar, like on the early morning crooner “5 AM” it is his voice that commands the listener’s attention much more than the melody. Even when he’s pitted himself against an electric guitar as he does on hazy “I Know, I’m Sorry,” his vocals, long and dragged out sometimes, really add a depth of feeling to the words behind them. I found this to be true also later on the somber and slow “Before I Met You” as his cavernous vocals fill up the song.
Ghost Fumes shows Quigley’s songwriting capabilities have grown by leaps and bounds. He has stepped out from amongst the masses of bedroom recording artists, and he seems determined to show the world what he can do with his talents. This is a hallmark record for Quigley, and one that sets a new bar for his solo career.
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