The Happy Ghosts is the current musical vehicle for multi instrumentalist Andrew Muecke, and this release ‘Reverence for Life’ is a collection of songs composed around Albert Schweitzer’s philosophy of the same name.
Personally, I enjoy the discovery of new horizons through music and applaud composers who seek to enlighten listeners by introducing them to new concepts that they might otherwise have never explored. For those who just want the music, this album stands on its own as a well produced collection of pop songs that are easily accessible to most listeners. Those who look for the story behind the music will enjoy this album more if they familiarize themselves with the works of Dr Schweitzer and then seek to relate the music and songs to the theory underpinning their construction.
Andrew Muecke has a long history expressed across several musical projects (refer www.andrewmuecke.com); on this album he has written the music and lyrics and played most of the instruments on all 14 songs. In many ways this is an Andrew Muecke solo project, but with contributions from Matt Cahill (vocals on “Voices”) and Carrie Barr (vocals on the others tracks). Brother Jon Muecke also makes a cameo appearance on guitar on one track.
Opening track “Voices” evokes David Bowie of the late 90s’ and serves as a bookend for the album, with the final track being a short reprise. With its catchy rhythm and Matt Cahill’s mellow vocals, this is a strong but deceptive opening, as Carrie Barr then takes over vocal duties for the rest of the album.
Most of the tracks have quite a mellow mood to them, with synthesizers, funky bass, programmed beats, flutes and sundry sound effects overlaid as the mood dictates. This is a well constructed album that does not fit into an easily defined genre. There is enough variety to ensure that the music is not repetitive, but enough consistency to ensure that each song feels like it fits. This consistency and the upbeat nature of the albums mood reflect the Schweitzer philosophy in musical and lyric form. A joy to listen to and contemplate.