It’s an interesting time to be in a band, what with society’s newfound hyperconnectivity and all. The seemingly endless tide of adept millennials pumping out totally decent music on bedroom laptops can bestow an unsettling urgency for artists to try and keep up.
So, by today’s standards, three years is a relatively long time betwixt albums. Perhaps even more so for a band like Ghost Heart, whose 2011 debut, The Tunnel, made a pretty big splash. The group was enshrined as one of Grand Rapids’ most beloved bands and the New York Times had the good sense to crown its sound “haunting and resonant.”
But the road to album No. 2 wasn’t without its hiccups, some of which delayed the process further than the group had hoped.
“For a while, it felt like the universe was throwing Donkey Kong barrels at us,” said Troy Reimink, multi-instrumentalist for the band.
The foursome suffered different setbacks, some common (losing practice spaces, conflicting schedules) and some unique to the band. With members (Tim Broderick, Cedric Canero, Justin Gray and Reimink) working on other projects and sometimes living in different parts of the state, things took a while to start falling together.
“We've been in this band for about six years, and priorities naturally change after that long as people get careers and relationships and houses and such,” Reimink said. “We're not all closing down The Meanwhile together four nights a week or whatever. So it can be hard to keep everybody on the same page personally and creatively.”
Songs for the band's second album, The Effigy, started coming together in 2012, with most of them being written and incrementally recorded throughout 2013. As with the first record, the group worked with analog wizard Tommy Schichtel at Goon Lagoon studios.
The coupling of Ghost Heart’s ornate arrangements, which aren’t exactly products of hurried songwriting, and the somewhat laborious process of recording to tape took time - something the group long since made peace with.
“Anybody can just make a record in their living room and put it on the Internet the same day, but we're very stubbornly into the idea of an album being something monolithic and special that's labored over and argued about,” Reimink said. “That's probably bad business in 2014, but we have nothing at stake here beyond our own enjoyment and interest, so that's how we'll keep doing it.”
Despite any hurdles Ghost Heart faced along the way, the end product arrives exactly how it should: a set of well-crafted tunes possessing both calculated fluidity and tempered elegance.
“The only thing that matters now is it’s done and we’re extremely proud of it,” Reimink said.
Learn more about the band at ghostheart.com.
Ghost Heart wsg Vox Vidorra and Backyard Songbook
Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids
Nov. 29, 9:30 p.m.
foundersbrewing.com, (616) 776-1195