Comprised of couple Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl, The Ghost of A Saber Tooth Tiger is somewhat of an unusual musical pairing. One is the son of John Lennon and the other is a model and actress. It may be hard not to have some preconceived notions when listening for the first time. Nevertheless, together, they bring into existence the quirky and beautiful eeriness found in their album, “Acoustic Sessions.”
As you might have guessed, “Acoustic Sessions” is largely an acoustic album, with all of the songs more or less revolving around Lennon’s lone acoustic guitar, save for an accordion or other instrument thrown in here or there.
The duo’s music is a very mellow, eerie indie-pop sound. Lennon and Muhl’s voices go together fantastically and their harmonies, on top of the slightly unconventional chord progressions, do much to help give the album an ethereal eeriness.
The harmonies and dissonant chords provide a base for the airy lyrics and this theme is very strong throughout the album. The similarities of the “ethereal eeriness” are greatly highlighted throughout the songs.
This potential problem of having an album entirely composed of just acoustic guitar and whispy vocals is alleviated by the inclusion of a variety of instruments throughout – everything from accordion melodies to banjo solos. Despite this, there is still a very similar tone found in the songs. It seems that this carefully constructed atmosphere was intended to be found throughout the album, but this causes parts of a lot of the songs to blend into one another.
Almost all of the songs on “Acoustic Sessions” use guitar arpeggios in some form or the other to create the album’s signature eery atmosphere. It’s not surprising, since it’s a powerful way to create atmosphere, but it does make a lot of parts of different songs difficult to distinguish at first. You’ll be looking for the little catchy pop melodies and bridges (which there are plenty of) in each of the songs to set them apart.
The album opener, “Lavender Road,” is also the best song on the album. It’s the perfect combination of GOASTT’s catchy pop melodies and vocal harmonies with the tasteful addition of surreal and ghostly elements. This culminates in a fantastic experience that shows the duo’s potential. For the most part, the rest of the songs, though solid in their own right, aren’t quite up to par with “Lavender Road.”
One of the reasons “Lavender Road” is a high point on the album is because its main melodies tilt considerably more to the pop than the eerie. “The World Was Made For Men” is another track that rises above the rest in the same manner. Though the song is definitely gloomier than “Lavender Road,” the melody is still unique and its pseudo a cappella quality makes it stand out all the more amongst the acoustic guitar-laden tracks.
The faded, distant accordion intro leads of “Jardin du Luxembourg” is an example of a moment where the song stands out because of a different instrument. The banjo solo outro of “Dark Matter” works to the same effect, providing an extra moment of variation in the darkness to keep things interesting.
Though this album is mellow, somber and acoustic, The Ghost of A Saber Tooth Tiger have managed to make every song unique. It isn’t quite enough for some of the songs and a few get lost in the rough. Considering this is an acoustic album without drums or too many other instruments, the duo did a great job making it interesting. Their melodious overdubs are, for the most part, tasteful, and the vocal harmonies are simply superb and extremely effective.
Whatever bias you may have for or against Sean Lennon and his model-actress girlfriend, GOASST proves they have something bonafide to offer the musical world.
Rating: 5 out of 5