13ghosts: 'Beyond the Door'

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13ghosts Birmingham, Ala with a sound steeped in sometimes brash southern rock. The tradition is updated with lo-fi effects, 1970's fuzzy reverb and vocals that sound more like John Lennon than Leonard Skynard. The quintet's new album is The Strangest Colored Lights.

Brad Armstrong and Buzz Russell trade songwriting and vocal duties, which helps keep the album fresh and listeners guessing. Harmonicas, horns and drones evoke the darker tones.

A roaring, harsh guitar melody sweeps in "Beyond the Door" but is mellowed by the vocals and a recurring, gentle guitar riff. The bass and drums keep the song low and reserved despite the fuzz and slight distortion from the guitars. Background harmonies feel ominous despite otherwise optimistic lyrics.

Originally formed in 1989 with Armstrong and Russell as founding members, the band endured a number of downers from death and break-ups.

13ghosts have released four CDs and say they're already working a new album. In addition to writing, the band will focus on playing shows around their hometown Birmingham.

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