Ghost Rider in the Sky

Indie Rocker Meets His Haunted Past

Entrance is the one-man project of Guy Blakeslee, formerly of math/screamo/arty unit the Convocation Of; his new album, The Kingdom of Heaven Must Be Taken by Storm, was recorded over six nights in a Brooklyn studio, and sounds like it. In the most obvious sense, it's an indie rocker getting in touch with the old weird past and/or his record collection: finger picking and reverbed psych guitar solos, tributes to country bluesmen, and general indications that he's trying to put over some kind of acid-folk vibe. But on a baser and more potent level, Blakeslee tries his hardest to scare up (literally!) the strongest sensation of wild-eyed terror that he can, by beating his foot on the floor, strumming hard, and using any devices at his disposal, from the overt (lyrics that go "I've never seen a ghost but I can feel their presence sometimes/My world is haunted by what happens outside of visible time/Just now I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye"; changing "New York City" to "haunted city" in a Dylan cover), to the slightly less (the spectral choir that explodes siren-like on "A Farewell to My Friends"). Blakeslee's voice, which sounds how Jandek would if somebody woke him up, works to a similar end. The recording places it wailing and knocking around behind a wooden wall of acoustic guitar.

That said, there's a tangible element of joy to a lot of these songs, notably in the version of Skip James's "I'm So Glad." It starts with some heavy-handed Fahey/Basho cops, but then careens into absolute exuberance: shaking, strumming, and singing to the sky, in praise almost. Totally in contrast with the lyrics, too, which are normal blues stuff—so tired of crying for you, don't know what to say, don't know what to do. But he's still glad, because of the levitational spirit(s) surrounding him. And that sums up this great little record: brittle, haunted skeleton songs that always leave a light glowing somewhere.

 
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