“Ghost Songs” by SHAPES & SHADOWS is their first single. True to the title, “Ghost Songs” has an eerie vibe from right off the bat with a mix of sharp, high-pitched instrument notes and dreamy, spooky vocals throughout.
The initial drums spooks the listener. I literally jumped in my seat. I was not expecting such a high, harsh note immediately. While scary, it was perfect to set the scene and the vibe for the rest of the track. Joining the drums are electric sounds and a horn siren, evoking a post apocalyptic world, dark and foreboding. Too quickly SHAPES & SHADOWS begin to sing, potentially throwing the listener off again. Since the instruments are reminiscent of sirens, it feels right for them to go on and on for a while before lyrics come in. However, the lyrics thirteen seconds, throwing me off, isn’t bad, it’s just another example that you never know what to expect, perfectly fitting the vibe of “Ghost Songs.”
The vocalists of SHAPES & SHADOWS sing with a mix of dreamy, floating vocals and spooky, robot-eske vocals completely contrasting each other. Occasionally static interferes with the lyrics, evoking imagery of communicating over radios and possibly missing important information due to a bad connection. The vocals sometimes blend into the instruments, making it hard to make out the words if one isn’t putting their full attention to it, but the musicality of the vocals perfectly coexist with the instruments, adding another layer and sound.
It’s weird: the more I listened to “Ghost Songs” the less unexpected and harsh the sounds felt and the lyrics became clearer.
Repeatedly sung throughout the song is the lyric “Truth becomes lies.” The paradoxical nature of the lyrics left me pondering over it. It’s almost too complex because it’s so simple. I kept thinking what it could mean. “Truth becomes lies” just kept echoing in my head.
More lyrics that stood out to me were “Golden tongues, hollow lungs, beautiful lies / Broken tongues, holy lungs, beautiful eyes.” The first half was repeated multiple times before SHAPES & SHADOWS sung the second line. Because of that and because they are auditorily similar, it took me a bit to realize they were singing different lyrics. At first I thought it was my hearing, because I think everyone has experienced thinking a lyric was one thing before realizing you were way off. The images the lyrics convey are also eerie and dark yet somewhat alluring.
“Ghost Songs” is a track you need to listen to multiple times to fully be able to understand and experience it the way it deserves.
SHAPES & SHADOWS are from the Okanagan Valley in Canada. Despite this being their first song, SHAPES & SHADOWS is made up of four experienced artists (Chris, Steve, Graemme, and Jesse). SHAPES & SHADOWS aim to create unforgettable melodies and experiences through experimentalism perfect for fans of Jónsi, Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux, Radiohead, Phoria, Low Roar, Ry X, Sigur Rós, SOHN or M83.
Written by Anne Friedman