The appropriately-titled Ghosts is the final album from long-running Drive Like Jehu-inspired outfit, Nakatomi Plaza. Surprisingly, it starts off on a far more melodic note than on their previous release, Unsettled. With tunes like “Artificial Light” and “Requiem,” the NP are going for more a straightforward punk sound, as opposed to that of the records in their past.
I think the saddest part about this is that, had they continued to go in this direction, there might’ve been a chance for the band to go beyond being a simple niche group. They could have found a bit of wider appeal, like The Loved Ones or Ted Leo have.
Listen to “Bomb Shelter” – DOWNLOAD MP3
This is especially indicative of “Words,” a haunting song buried towards the end of the album. It’s pared down to an acoustic guitar, vocals, and a cello, and rocks out towards the end, but the first half of the tune is haunting as hell.
The songs on Ghosts are still as challenging as before, but with polish and direction, they send Nakatomi Plaza off on a bittersweet note. They’ve not only released one of the best records of their storied career, but perhaps one of the best punk records in the last five years.
Listen to “The Finish Line” – DOWNLOAD MP3