The Left Ready are a three piece rock band from Montana and their latest release, Ghost, is a five song EP looking to build on the success of 2014’s self-titled debut. Their first release enjoyed considerable success with college radio outlets and help earn them high profile performances at the 2015 SXSW event in Austin, Texas. From their formation onward, the band has shown a strong commitment to developing as songwriters and performers and their second EP continues in that vein.
Ghost opens with the brisk, chiming rocker “In Like a Lion”. The band’s energy level is off the charts thanks, in no small part, to the relentless propulsion produced by drummer Joel Metzler. This is a cohesive performance, however, in every way bubbling over with melody and reckless rock and roll abandon, but never let its deceptively simple thrust fool you. Even the briefest listen to the sympathetic tension between production and playing, along with the sophisticated lyrical content, will convince even the most reluctant that this is a band with clear artistic vision. It’s a conviction that the album’s nominal title track, “I Am a Ghost”, reinforces. Beyond the evocative production and modern mix, there’s a blue heart in the center of this track and the near-poetic lyrical content does nothing to dissuade such an idea. The rhythm section’s hard swing will connect viscerally with listeners as well.
“Will to Survive” is vaguely reminiscent of The White Stripes, but there’s a continuing blues influence with entirely different aims discernable in the arrangement and playing. This track, like the preceding ones, has impressive density without ever sounding cluttered. It’s doubly notable in light of the orchestrated chaos thus far defining each song on the release. “Hell in a Handbasket” slows the tempo and has a melodically simpler approach than earlier tracks, but the observation isn’t negative. Instead, it’s an important moment to hear The Left Ready so easily diversify their musical voice and still produce unquestionably intense results. “Out Like a Lamb” continues braving different territory like its predecessor but in a much more surprising fashion. The Left Ready forsakes the guitar histrionics of the preceding four tracks for a luxuriously paced, sensitively render acoustic outing complete with lyrical piano breaks and gorgeous multi-part harmonies. The finale’s big screen ambition and high quality provides a breathtaking bookend to one of the year’s best indie releases.
8 out of 10 stars