You can spend your whole life walking around with your eyes closed, never quite seeing what’s right in front of you. Then suddenly you wake up, and your eyes are very much open. It could be something that seems truly trite that all of a sudden seems to take on a deeper significance: somehow a road marking unexpectedly explains all the directions your life could take. You might notice a twinkle in the eye of the girl you’ve been working with for years that’s been there since the day you joined her in the office to report for years of menial drudgery.
Dust Ghosts is an album that could quite easily pass you by. Put it on when you’re trying to mend the toaster with a knife and fork, or while you’re doing the dusting and you could easily miss a thing of great beauty, mistaking it for the ramblings of a band heavily in debt to Crowded House.
The dusting done, the toaster doing ‘medium brown’ perfectly and with attention focused, The Wireless Stores are clearly not nearly as middle of the road as first impressions may have suggested. Paul Yeadon’s (ex-Bivouac) band make effortless country tinged alt-rock that is by turns melancholy and joyously driven. Like the girl at work, there’s a glint, and occasionally a tear in the eye. These songs are both life-affirming and heartbreaking at the same time. The vocal harmonies are perfect, and the hooks are big enough to land Moby Dick in a couple of minutes.
The genius of these songs mainly lies in the lyrics though. Many of these songs might sound as if they come from the same landscape that gave us Sugar‘s Hoover Dam, but the lyrics have a sublime Englishness to them. There’s a darkened humour that flows through the album, appearing in a similar way to the moments of clarity that explode behind the eyes of a career drunk. All the relationships on the record are flawed; everything good is defined in terms of the unpleasant being beautiful.
“You’re the best book I ever read – the best book, unfinished” states Las Vegas Days. There’s chewing gum stars that make the underside of a thousand tables look like the endlessness of space, filled with possibilities. Dust Ghosts is filled with references to sanatoriums, and unsteady states of mind. Despite this, the songs are also filled with a sense of hope and the kind of undying belief that comes to people who can see beauty in almost anything.
The beauty of The Wireless Stores is easy to find, as long as you don’t have a particularly troublesome piece of kitchen hardware to distract you. Dust Ghosts could be the album that makes you fall in love with the world all over again.