I love a lot of different styles of music for different reasons. The thing that resonates with me is an emotional connection to the music. That emotional connection was something I found when listening to the album Chasing Ghosts in the Dark by Sean Hopkins. Chasing Ghosts in the Dark is a twelve-song album by the artist from New Hope, Pennsylvania which exudes honest and earnest songs that feel grounded in the human condition.
The music is often a combination of folk and rock that is supported by warm instrumentation like guitar, keys, drums and bass. I thought the songs had a cerebral thought-provoking foundation. You can hear this on the opener “All I Ever Wanted” which contains an undercurrent of melancholy but also combines that with a sense of gratitude. The vocals are very well delivered and the instrumentation is able to support the words. There’s a good amount of reverb on the guitar which takes you deeper into this sense of reflection.
“Light Shades Grey” shimmers with a deep reverence and introspection. The song has a narrative arch which feels like a hug from a friend who you have known your whole life. I thought the delicate guitar picking and piano was wonderful. This is the type of song that if you listen in the right mood can put everything into perspective.
“Winter’s Breath” reminded me of dusk. That was the image I had when listening to the ambient distant sounds. I felt fairly deep in introspection with the first three songs. That’s why the more lively ”Like a Whisper” worked really well as a fourth song. The airy elements are still there but the strummed guitar and drums add a lot to the movement.
The cinematic “Tears Surround You” contains absolutely gorgeous strings but is also a masterclass on how the instrumentation can change the scope of a song. Hopkins proves time and time again that guitar picking is his bread and butter on songs like “A Longful Farewell” and “Summer Stare” but also has other weapons in his arsenal. I thought the closer “It’s Alright” was a perfect closer. The melancholy that runs through this album all seems to come to this point and feels like a reassurance.
As I was listening to this album I kept thinking that Hopkins put a lot of thought into the sequential order of the songs. Chasing Ghosts in the Dark is an album with a continuous flow of sounds that hit a number of moods that reflect a lot of what it feels like to be a person. There are ups and downs but like Queen said “Little high/little low.” Nothing felt too far from the center of the bullseye. I have to admit I never heard of Hopkins before but this radar put him on my radar. In my opinion there’s a deep audience who will easily relate to his music. It feels human, relatable and as I mentioned in the beginning of this review it connects with. That connection isn’t forced but a natural connection to the ideas of Hopkins.