So Long, My Lonely Ghost
By Mike O’Cull www.mikeocull.com
Paul Oska is an acoustic singer-songwriter from the UK with a dark folk style that is on full display on his new EP So Long, My Lonely Ghost. The set was released on June 22nd, 2020 on Bandcamp and Soundcloud and will drop everywhere else on July 1st. This new five-song effort is Oska’s first new output in eight years following his previous releases Urban Hermit (2012) and I Think I'm Dead (2007). Recorded, produced, mixed, and mastered by Andy Ross at Astar Studios in Manchester, UK, the EP is full of a constant, brooding energy that borders on the supernatural and a muted intensity that shows listeners that one needn’t scream to command their attention.
The record features a small, capable studio band that includes Oska on vocals and acoustic guitar, Claire Victoria Roberts on violin, Margit van der Zwan on cello, Ed Harrison on double bass, and Bruce Renshaw on drums. The group does fine work supporting Paul and his songs and exhibits that rare ability to get inside of delicate tracks and express them without becoming overbearing. Songs like the opening cut “The Gathering” trade on melancholy sentiments and spacious arrangements that allow Oska’s melodies and lyrics to hold center stage and work their somber magic.
The titular song, “So Long, My Lonely Ghost,” is quiet, abstract, and entrancing. Oska is superb at working in this abbreviated, hushed style of modern folk music and compels those listening to draw ever closer to absorb his topics and poetry. Other important songs here include “Smother” and “Long Lives Are Lost” but, as this is a short release, fans will want to listen to it all in one session and explore Oska’s musical world as deeply as they can. So Long, My Lonely Ghost is an excellent set of new music from a songwriter who deserves a much larger audience of devotees seeking music written on genuine human emotions. Don’t let this record slip by you.
LISTEN ON BANDCAMP: