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DM Stith – Heavy Ghost [Asthmatic Kitty]

June 11, 2009

DM Stith’s debut Heavy Ghost glides through corridors swollen with darkness in an abandoned, shell of a house surrounded by fog, with only it’s own echoing melodies for company. It’s celestial folk music, both haunting and melancholy.

Stith, a New Yorker who currently resides in Bloomington, Indiana, plays the solitary voice of a succession of eccentric hermits before him. The sombre, soul-searching of Antony Hegarty, the insularity of Neil Young and the poetic drunkenness of Tom Waits all feature in his song writing.

Heavy Ghost, stutters through the first couple of tracks, opener ‘Isaac’s Dance’ and the mystical follow-up ‘Pity Dance’ both disquietingly spooky and multifarious (although, ‘Pity Dance’ is also the first and oddly-challenging single off the album). But soon after Heavy… settles into itself as Stith’s ethereal vocals and hypnotic arrangements acclimatise to the format. Possibly the result of an intensely religious upbringing, there is an undeniable hymnal quality to songs such as ‘Creekmouth’ and ‘Morning Glory Cloud’.

Having been focusing his creative efforts on poetry, visual art (the apocalyptic cloud eclipsing ink stains of colour on the album cover is his own) and profuse blog-keeping, this is DM Stith’s first musical field trip. Which one of his family signed the permission slip to let him visit this intensely hair-raising but alluring place remains unknown.

[Originally reviewed for Bearded Magazine]

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