Album Review: Van Ghost- The Domino Effect

Anyone who lived through Chicago’s Snowmageddon of 2011 will never forget it. So having this iconic photo as cover art for The Domino Effect is a strong first impression, especially to Chicagoans who have watched Van Ghost blossom into the great ambassadors for this city that they are. This album, their second full length studio release, is a beautifully constructed and masterfully produced work that runs through a range of feel good rock n roll. There is a very strong softer-side-of-rock energy throughout the album, with multiple ballad-esque songs that feature the gorgeous voices of Jen Hartswick and Michael Harrison Berg. These songs are nice, but it’s a couple of related pairs of songs that really shine. Both “Cage” and “Modern Day Love Affair” have a colorful and uptempo rock energy that highlights ridiculously catchy choruses and sneaky guitar work from Grant Tye. This pair is tailor made for widespread radio play. Then there are the real gems of the album: “Easy On Me” and “Return To Innocence.” These songs are powerful in person, and after hearing the album cut it’s easy to see why: they started off with potency and simply bloom in the live setting. “Easy On Me” has a deliciously funky New Orleans flavor, while “Return To Innocence” slides over to the Mississippi Delta for a dose of gritty blues, with both prominently featuring Shreddy Kreuger’s (Tye) fiery guitar chops. These two songs show the farthest point of evolution from their debut album, and with any luck, are a good indication of what’s to come — these songs are instant classics.

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Jeremy Frazier is the editor-in-chief of Soundfuse.