“Hoboland” – Black Casino and the Ghost

3 stars (out of 5)

3

"Hoboland"

“Hoboland”

Black Casino And The Ghost are a London band formed in 2010, which surprised me as they have the kind of ‘swamp’ rock Americana sound that had me reminiscing about my old Cramps albums, although this is a layered sound with a more sophisticated lyric.

Black Casino and the Ghost are: Elisa Zoot (vocals, piano), Ariel Lerner (guitar), Gary Kilminster (bass) and Paul Winter-Hart (drums).  “Hoboland” is the second single taken from their forthcoming September release, the intriguingly-titled “Some Dogs Think Their Name Is No”.  This is a strong offering that gets my curiosity going for the album.  “Hoboland” has been recorded live and captures that energy very well, but still remains more disciplined than many live recordings and it is self-produced, hinting at talent in the studio as well as with their instruments.  It really sounds as if they are happy with the resulting three minutes of tight, bluesy rock they produce, and as a listener, so am I.

According to their press release, the song is about the moment ‘when dreams turn into obsessions and ambitions become consuming like a virus,’ as the singer looks in vain for Hoboland; although not all of the lyric is completely discernible, it is certainly dark and anthemic-sounding.  It opens with menacing bass guitar and drums before the vocal comes in, ‘Nicotine days and nicotine nights, it might be a phase or just wait and sit tight…’.  The vocal is distinct and unlike any other female vocalist I can think of.  ‘Someone stole my love, like the eye of a scarecrow taken by the bird,’ bewails Elisa and she sounds very present and ‘in’ the story of this energetic song.  The chorus is where the boys join in with ‘Whao-oo Ooh’, etc and is very effective to sing along with especially at their live gigs, if this is anything to go by.  Definitely worth a listen, they deserve more than just indie success, or wait for their album and get both singles and more besides.

Out now as a download.  It’s somewhere between 3 and 4 stars so let’s call it 3½.