For those yet unaware of Ghost Atlas, this is the self-funded and -operated alt-rock side project of Jesse Cash, guitarist and clean vocalist of progressive metalcore band Erra. Founded in 2013 with Erra band mate Alex Ballew on drums, the group has a small discography of two EP’s, 2013’s Gold Soul Coma and 2015’s Immortal Youth. Now Cash is ready to release his first full-length album All Is In Sync, And There’s Nothing Left To Sing About. Still unsigned and self-released, the album is coming out on November 17th.
First things first: if you do not like the clean vocals in Erra, then this album is not for you. While Cash’s vocals are at peak performance and stronger than they have ever been, his voice – usually paired over power chords – still gives Ghost Atlas a strong Erra connection. That being said, if you love his vocals in Erra (odds are you are already a fan of GA) or love Saosin and Cove Reber’s voice, then it is a pretty safe guarantee that you will really enjoy this album!
What Cash will be delivering to his listeners on All Is In Sync becomes quickly evident in the first track “Cry Wolf”: no frills, driving rock that is highly focused on vocal performance and creating a catchy melody. And to be honest, there are no frills necessary. Nearly the entire album is an endless run of infectious verses, choruses, and catchy melodies – all of which will be stuck in your head long after listening. In fact, the first six tracks of the album (plus a few later on) are all worthy of being singles, most notably the fourth track “Badlands”. Diving even deeper into the Saosin feel, this is arguably the best track on the album. I wouldn’t nominate this for the best song of the year, but, without a doubt, if there were such an award for ‘catchiest chorus’, “Badlands” would easily take the title.
All is in Sync is the closest I have ever heard a band to sounding like Saosin with Cove, both musically and vocally. However, listening to the album the first few times, I was hearing bits and pieces of influence from all sorts of bands (like the Brighten AND Dance Gavin Dance vibes in “Mirror Room”) that would make Ghost Atlas fit in well on a late 2000’s Warped Tour bill. Still, there was a certain nostalgia I was feeling while listening that I couldn’t quite put put my finger on until I realized that Cash’s vocal use of a throaty and raspy high end quite often sound similar to Deryck Whibley from Sum 41. While not quite in the punk realm, most of the tracks on All Is In Sync deliver alt-rock with a similar razors edge. Watch the music video for “Legs” to hear the strong Sum 41 and Emanuel vibes fused into the ever-present Saosin feel.
Although this is the best Ghost Atlas release to date, the songwriting on the album does play a bit on the safe side. While there are many spacey verses and tremolo-picked and tapped leads that satisfy the listener’s ear, all of the instruments play a supporting role to the vocals. What’s missing are the more frantic, in-your-face guitar riffs Ghost Atlas gave us with songs like “Elixir of Life” off of their début EP Gold Soul Coma; however, the catchy melodies more than make up for this.
Cash does slightly slow down the pace at the halfway point, giving listeners a breather with the more introspective and emotional track “NightDrive”. It is worth noting, though, that immediately after following up with the aforementioned sing-along track “Mirror Room” comes a somewhat angsty acoustic song, “Scouts Honor”. Honestly, I’ve never really been a fan of these acoustic song inclusions that bands in and around this genre frequent. I do see the value of them if they’re used to break up the pace of an album, but considering that was accomplished with “NightDrive”, “Scouts Honor” just feels like an unnecessary addition to the album. To give credit where it is due, Cash’s voice is consistent and not at all pitchy, which often happens when bands like this write acoustic tracks. This faux pas is quickly forgiven by the time I delve into “Little Shell” and “Rabid Dog”.
When I review an album for ItDjents, I give myself a full week to listen to the selected album dozens of times. So usually by the time I am finished with my review, I am more than happy to give the album a rest. However, I don’t think I’m quite finished enjoying the high replay value of nearly all of the songs on All Is In Sync, And There’s Nothing Left To Sing About. Certainly, all is in sync with Jesse Cash and Ghost Atlas. And while there may be nothing left to sing about, I sure hope there is, because this album has left me longing for more! (Perhaps a new Erra record first though).
Score: 8.5 /10
Notable Tracks: “Vertigo”; “Legs”; “Badlands”; “Fox Rain”; “Mirror Room”; “Little Shell”
FFO: Saosin, Erra, Emanuel, Sum 41