From time to time, The Quill receives EPs and full discs from artists looking for a review. This year, I have taken on the job of reviewing these proffered gifts, and today present two more albums for your judgment: Relic’s Miles to Go and Ghost Lights’ Saltwater.
Miles to Go by Relic
Miles to Go but to where? The stencilled image of a train on the album cover suggests Relic, also known as Rel McCoy, may choose the railway as his preferred means of transportation. Flipping over the album case, I notice a stencilled bus superimposed over onto a one-way road sign. Is it the bus or is it the train, Relic? Either way, one thing is for sure: Relic is an avid supporter of public transportation, and, wherever his destination lies, he has miles to go. Miles to Go is fresh, while staying true to a traditional hip-hop sound. The music isn’t aggressive or vulgar, void of derogatory comments and profanity. The beats are crisp and clear, but at times the music disappears, leaving Relic standing on his own rhymes. The lyrics are reflective of Relic’s personal experiences and struggles: his involvement in music, social problems, substance abuse, personal beliefs, et cetera. I suppose the thesis of the album is that, although Relic is experiencing success in his musical career, he still has a long way to go, miles even, and, as we all know, an indefinite amount of miles can seem like a long distance either on foot, bus, or train. Relic produced and engineered this album entirely on his own. The only other credits belong to his friends who appear as guests in a few songs. I generally avoid listening to hip hop, but I recommend this album to anyone who does enjoy the causal injection. It is truly a milestone.
Listen to the full LP here: http://relic.bandcamp.com/album/miles-to-go-2
Saltwater by Ghost Lights
Saltwater is the transposition of Noah Cebuliak’s transcendental experiences in the wilderness of Alberta and British Columbia. The vocals are a bit dull, but reminiscent of a less-layered Bon Iver. The lyrics are noticeably influenced by preeminent transcendentalist David Thoreau in their descriptive qualities, likening valley fog to some vast mysterious and organic being, as one example. The song structure is not straightforward, but at times winds like a meandering river. The production is crisp and the traditional rock instruments are, on one occasion, accompanied by a minimal orchestra. The music has a lounge quality to it, far from what I expected from a transcendentalist poet. I was expecting noises to imitate the rustling of leafs and the bubbling of a mellow brook. Perhaps for the listener, the guitar and voice of Cebuliak will be sufficient. I suggest this album to anyone who enjoys the indie-folk genre.
Listen to the full EP here: http://ghostlights.bandcamp.com/album/saltwater-ep
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 103, Issue 16, January 8, 2013.