Red November Sky: The Ghost Within (2012)

Bio (from facebook.com/rednovembersky):
We are an original indie rock band.

Musicians:
Johnny Lisco (Guitar / Lead Vocals), Emi Santa (Keys / Back Up Vocals)
THE GHOST WITHIN opens with a little riff and vocal harmony on “Among Us” that defines the tone for the rest of the album.  Vocally, Lisco calls to mind Peter Gabriel, but musically Red November Sky leans more towards late Pink Floyd (think THE DIVISION BELL) or something in that early 1980’s timeframe.  “Soothing” is really the best adjective for it; TGW has a nice calming sensation throughout most of its runtime.  That’s not to say that TGW is a lullaby, or boring at all, but it’s never heavy or too rambunctious.

Emi Santa and Johnny Lisco
Emi Santa and Johnny Lisco

Red November Sky builds their songs around Lisco’s guitar, which brings to mind the 80’s lighter rock scene; Pink Floyd (of that era), Genesis, Kansas, etc.  The guitar is backed with Santa’s keys, synth strings, drums, and so on, to make this two-piece feel like a full band.  One of the nicest touches that Lisco included – often overlooked in many indie music recordings – is vocal harmony; on the majority of the tracks there are multiple takes of his voice harmonizing with each other.  This simple trick adds a ton of depth and body to the sound, and makes the recording stand out that much more.  The recording quality on TGW is not quite up to what you’d expect from a CD you’d get in a store, but it’s not in any way bad either, and the addition of these layers of harmony help makeup for the non-professional nature of the sound quality.

Under a red (sepia) sky...
Under a red (sepia) sky…

Like any singer/songwriter, the lyrics are obviously the focus for Lisco, and overall TGW is a pretty dark album.  As is the focus with a lot of music, TGW deals a lot with love lost, heartache, and all those wonderful things that make for bad times but good songs.  “Hey baby now look at all these chains that bind me / I earned them long ago when I ignored my very soul / I know we must pay our immortal immortal tolls / But take it from me that soul you keep can become quite heavy,” sings Lisco on “Winter,” “I am the broken heart / I can’t reach you now,” he declares on “Breathe Me In.”  On “Good Samaritan” he sings, “So as I bite the hand that gives / I hope you can now forgive me / Because you gave me all I asked for / I am so undeserving…” another not-so-happy bit.  The only song that really seems upbeat lyrically is one of my favorites on the album, “In My Future,” which – upon closer inspection – seems to be about death!  “In my future I’m happy I’m smiling / Cause all my loved ones are here now around me / And all my troubles are gone now completely / Cause all I ever wanted is here now its with me,” is the chorus, and while I could be mistake I’m pretty sure that this track is written from the post-demise point of view.

Lisco as I imagine him "in his element"... a man and his guitar
Lisco as I imagine him “in his element”… a man and his guitar

Overall, I enjoyed TGW.  Upon first listen it didn’t grab me, but giving it a little more time and attention allowed TGW to shine.  It is a very dark, mature, and musically soothing album that has a lot more going on than just what is obvious at first glance, and reminds me of music I don’t hear much anymore.  And in reminding me, it makes me miss those albums.
Overall 6.5 / 10

TGW for sale: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-ghost-with-in/id572881633

TGW site: http://www.rednovembersky.com
http://www.facebook.com/rednovembersky

Red November Sky: The Ghost Within (2012)
Red November Sky: The Ghost Within (2012)
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