Photo Credit: Jeen Na
Ghost Orchard is the musical enterprise of Sam Hall, a 21-year-old bedroom-pop artist based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Following 2015's debut Poppy LP and 2017's sophomore album Bliss, Ghost Orchard now shares his third full-length, bunny, via Orchid Tapes. The genre-mixing artist, who records everything in his home, taps into lo-fi, experimental-pop, Soundcloud rap, and other unworldly echoes to create a distinguishing resonance of his own. Hall notes that bunny is "A celebration of love and everything in between."
From start to finish, bunny offers a glimpse into the dichotomy of looking back/seeing forward in order to locate the remedies that are in need. Bunny is a haunting, magnetic, 14-track album that's ambitious in scope. It flourishes with some of the most tantalizing "bedroom-pop" structured songs heard in years. The record could have easily served as the soundtrack to HBO's freshman series EUPHORIA but for now it can serve as one's own soundtrack through the transitional time of pain and heartbreak while journeying to foreign places surrounded by unfamiliar faces.
The record opens with "witness," a beatific, keyboard-trap driven effort. Featuring auto-tuned vocals and a languid composition, the track makes it way to a realm of haunting R&B accents. Moving to the title track, Hall displays his penchant for the guitar with rhythmic tones and plucking grooves. "Guess" is propelled by a dance-beat, reaching the heights of a pure banger masterpiece. After Hall takes you for a wild, ecstasy filled ride with "guess" he explores deeper sonic terrain on "only." Starting off gently, the track takes a wild turn with its strangely composed arrangements and bright light-flickering moments. It's a surreal dream as if you're walking through a mysterious tunnel unsure to what the other side beholds. The idea is enticing, but chilling at the same time. Like most of the tracks found on bunny, there's a great sense of mystery surrounding it all with everything clearly open for true interpretation.
"Carousel" is the grandest track off the record at five minutes in length. It's a reflective jaunt, navigating through hazy synths, hushed electronic channels, and airy melodies throughout its second half. It closes out with Hall performing on his acoustic guitar, yearning for another day with the one that's no longer here. Shifting greatly into hip-hop undertones, the intricately produced, slow tempo groove of "sheesh" gives off all the much-desired feels you've been missing for quite some time. "First time" pumps the breaks slightly on productions as Hall croons over his acoustic guitar. It soon makes it way to woozy R&B inflections, but the results are restrained yet natural.
"Station" blends minimalist sonic tones with the arrival of indie-R&B qualities over a stirring soundscape. The track progresses with experimental splendor delivering comfort in confounding phases of life. With "puppy" Hall's vocals arise with heavenly accents delivering an array of sonic melodies that soothe heavy hearts.
"Honeymoon" closes out bunny and it's another sonically complex endeavor to ad to the collection. It wraps up an album that impresses on so many levels - from sonic exploration that holds no boundaries to Ghost Orchard's meaningful outcry for what love is and what it could become with time and patience.
Despite what the future may hold for bedroom-pop, bunny, for all its bedroom-pop glory, is an examination of the mind, spirit, and heart. Taking in account what's burning inside and what's troubling on the outside, Ghost Orchard has created an album filled with intimacy, longing, and hope and for those reasons, it's something you can really stand behind.