Albums simply don’t get better than Clandestine, the debut from Brandin Lea’s new band Jetta In The Ghost Tree. With densely structured songs brilliantly executed by Lea and his new cohorts, Clandestine is a blueprint for new bands on how to craft the perfect debut.
From the deeply personal cries of “Did you get what you wanted staring at my demise?” during opener “Clandestine” through to lyrics like “It’s So Nice To See You/I’ve Been Gone For A While/TheTime In The Spotlight Paralyzed” on closer “Down and Out”, Clandestine is easily Lea’s most personal record to date and possibly his best.
The aforementioned title track opens up the album with Lea’s distinct broad, expressive vocal passages leading the charge while introducing the rest of Jetta In The Ghost Tree to the masses. Drummer Joe Carpenter, in particular, immediately stands out with his metronome-like precision while Frank Ocampo’s bass completes a seemingly impeccable rhythm section here and throughout Clandestine. Abi Abel, meanwhile, does double duty most songs by backing up Lea on vocals and especially adding depth on the keys to songs like the Southern Fried rawk of “Nowehere” and the haunting “Pontchartrain Eyes”.
Make no mistake, this is not Flickerstick Act 2. That said, the roots of that other band rear their head from time to time especially on the guitar-driven “Reaction” (Which could easily fit on Tarantula) and rocker “Larceny” showcasing guitarist Eric Webb. As a listener, you’ll find it hard to pick just one favorite on this album. Songs like the spaced out rock of “Silhouette” or the pure Pop of “Carswell” are instantly memorable and even a song like “Desert Starlight Drive-In”, which threatens to fall into cheesy lounge territory at times, is elevated by the powerful musicianship and talent of Jetta In The Ghost Tree.
Whatever your preference on Clandestine, though, there’s no denying the true shining stars are maudlin tentpole tracks like “Clandestine”, “Pontchartrain Eyes”, and “Down and Out”. Almost like more seasoned, mature evolutions of “Lift” and “Direct Line to the Telepathic”, this trio of tracks is the definition of Jetta In The Ghost Tree’s sound.
Clandestine is coming your way soon. Stay tuned to Jetta In The Ghost Tree on Facebook for more.