‘Ghost Riding’ Release date 4th March 2016.
As legends go, they don’t get much bigger than Pearl Jam, who I’ve absolutely adored since the release of X, so when the opportunity to review Jeff Aments new side project came up, I jumped at the chance.
The bands name is RNDM (sadly, I can’t find out what this stands for, if anything) who you could class as a super group – of sorts, as it consists of singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur, Fastbacks/War Babies drummer Richard Stuverud and of course, Jeff Aments, as previously stated. The trio formed back in 2012 and managed to release their debut album ‘Acts’ the same year. Apparently, that album was recorded in only four days!
Straight off the back of that, the band didn’t waste any time in writing their second album, titled ‘Ghost Riding’ which finds the trio exploiting their creative smorgasbord of previous projects into an irresistible new beast. The title track – which is available for download now – is a beautiful new alt-rock symphony with orchestrated strings and the anthemic cry of “We’re still young” resonating throughout.
So far, two singles have been released from the album – ‘NYC Freaks’ and title track ’Ghost Riding’.
On the one song, Jeff Ament says, “Ghost Riding embodies what we went after on this record: pushing ourselves creatively with new songwriting approaches, unique sounds, groove and uncomfortable instrumentation… Joseph wrote a great take of longing of childhood past, really beautiful words”.
The eleven track album opens with the electro-industrial march of ‘Stumbling Down’ before leading into the dreamy indie-rock of ‘Comfortable’. Elsewhere, ‘Ghost Riding’ holds beautiful blues ballads as found on ‘Stronger Man’ and explores funky vibrations on ‘NYC Freeks’. RNDM also infuse Southern folk influence on ‘Stray’ and have recently unveiled the video to it, which you can watch here.
On a personal level, there are several tracks that really stand out on this album. The opening track ‘Stumbling Down’ really strikes a chord with me, as I’m also a big fan of the band Talking Heads and I could easily see this song fitting in with any of that bands tracks, in a playlist.
The track ‘Stronger Man’ has got some real emotion and meaning to it. It’s one of the slower tracks on this album, but really stands out as one of its best. Think, The Verve’s album, ‘Urban Hymns’ and you’d be in the right ball park!
As the title track and latest single, ‘Ghost Riding’ is clearly identifiable as a lead track off this album and it’s easy to see why it’s been released as a single. The next track I can identify with is going to be “Got to Survive” which is a great uplifting piece of music.
Although this album isn’t my usual choice of music, I really enjoyed the creativity that’s gone into making it. For those of you that like it on the more melodic side of the musical spectrum, this is certainly an album you need to check out! Please don’t be expecting anything like what Pearl Jam creates as this goes deeper and you really need to be thinking along the lines of REM, Phil Collins, Radio Head and other classic music producers. I can see this album and this band achieving similar critical acclaim, as all those I’ve mentioned in this review, over time.
Score out of 10, I’d have to give ‘Ghost Riding’ an 8 and it will be released March 4th via Dine Alone Records and available on digital, CD and vinyl formats from rndmband.com.
Review by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)