Ludlow 6:18

Cockeyed Ghost

Karma Frog Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: George Agnos


For their latest CD, the Los Angeles punk influenced power-pop band, Cockeyed Ghost, have decided to come up with somewhat of a concept album in Ludlow 6:18. Adam Marsland, the singer/songwriter for the band has based his latest songs around reminiscing about adventures of his life as a musician trying to make a living in Los Angeles while traveling through Ludlow, California which, if you are traveling east, is the last town before hitting nothing but desert.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The title tune sets up the premise and is a great start to the CD. However, Cockeyed Ghost gives a powerful punch early on with the next song, "Ginna Ling". This is a very touching song about meeting a fan who comes to the shows and finding out that the fan has killed herself. There is a danger of coming off maudlin with such a subject, but the song rocks, and the sunny energy is in sharp contrast to the subject matter.

And this is what makes Ludlow 6:18 such a fascinating CD. It is filled with songs that have sunny melodies hiding darker themes. Another plus in its favor is the increasing diversity in Cockeyed Ghost's sound. The punk influence is still there, although less prominent this time around. In its place are elements of soul (the piano ballad "December"), folk (the closing number "Old Trails"), and even a little jazz influence (the ballad "The Foghorn" and the uptempo "Tears Of Joy" have a definite Steely Dan vibe).

But the song that I think is the highlight of Ludlow 6:18 has their patented punk-pop sound. "Burning Me Out (Of The Record Store)" has Marsland effectively chronicling his experiences with his record label folding. The lyrics are angry and clever. Marsland's singing lets the listener feel the anguish of the situation, and the band gives a great performance with a pulsinating rhythm section consisting of bassist Robert Ramos, drummer Kurt Medlin, and the guitarist known as Severo.

Ludlow 6:18 is Marsland's most mature work as a songwriter. If you listen to the lyrics, these songs are quite emotional without going overboard. The current lineup of Cockeyed Ghost ably handles the ecletic material presented to them. In short, this band has fulfilled the potential they showed on previous releases.

Rating: A-

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© 2001 George Agnos and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Karma Frog Records, and is used for informational purposes only.