Athens, Georgia-based indie-rock outfit Monsoon introduces their second album, Ghost Party, following their debut album, Ride A’ Rolla.
Although still quite young, Monsoon has already been through the grinder. After dropping their debut album in 2015, the band attracted the attention of Toyota. This led to their music appearing in a Super Bowl commercial, followed by Monsoon being invited to be part of Google’s first “360 multi-cam music video.”
Vocalist Sienna Chandler says, “I had no idea something of this magnitude could happen at such an early stage in our career. It’s the kind of thing you hope for, but don’t ordinarily see from a band that’s just starting out.”
Shortly thereafter, Chandler and bandmate Joey Kegel went their separate ways. Eventually, they got back together, along with Roan O’Reilly (bass), to create Ghost Party.
During their time apart, Kegel traveled, delved into cars, and generally stayed away from music. For a while, Chandler continued Monsoon, then split for a time to do some acting, followed by studying recording engineering in Ohio.
Eventually, Chandler felt the need to connect once again with Kegel.
She explains, “I held off from reaching out. I wrote the feelings off as delayed blues from the initial parting, but over time, it became apparent that it was more than that. I felt intense grief over the lost friendship, mourning for someone who was still alive, anger at people for injecting themselves into our relationship, anxiety that we’d die before we spoke again, and overall, the overwhelming fear that there was no way to fix any of it.”
In 2017, Chandler reached out to Kegel. The two reconnected and new songs blossomed, followed by the pandemic giving them time to refine their fresh material.
Encompassing 11-tracks, entry points on Ghost Party include “Third Voice,” a blend of pop, punk, and indie rock. The morphing structure of the song reflects an intense complexity and evolving creative maturity. Chandler’s riot grrrl-like voice imbues the lyrics with edgy tones, at once sweet, wicked, and melodic.
“Don’t Move” rolls out on a walking bassline topped by thick, gleaming guitars. The crunch of the beat gives the tune shifting pulses as Chandler’s bewitching voice infuses the lyrics with luscious, modulated timbres.
Personal favorites, “O Brother,” with its heavy guitars and big harmonies, and “Dark Colossus,” revealing low-slung glowing harmonies, display the mesmerizing range of Chandler’s vocals. Indeed, as good as the music on Ghost Party is, sans Chandler, the album wouldn’t be the gem it is.
For some reason, “Submission” conjures up suggestions of The Cranberries, probably because Chandler’s echoing timbres, backed by rising and ebbing harmonies, are reminiscent of O’Riordan’s superb voice.
“Beetlebee” blends tangs of punk into its melody, giving the tune a sideways, edgy sensation. Raw, almost jarring guitars, invest the harmonics with growling, raspy energy. Chandler’s vocals provide a sing-song inflection that infuses the lyrics with latent mania.
Better than just good, especially the first half dozen songs, Ghost Party is an excellent album, full of authentic emotional declarations, granular indie-rock, and the evocative voice of Sienna Chandler.