by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
I don't remember the exact moment when I changed from a casual fan of Cool Ghouls' music to an obsessive one. Having listened to the Bay Area quartet for the past five years, there was always something special about them, something subtle, hidden just beneath layers of garage punk, lo-fi, and classic psych pop. There's an immediate emphasis on Cool Ghouls' musical style, but the slightest bit of digging proves there's a far greater emphasis on substance. After three increasingly exceptional full lengths and a string of EPs, Cool Ghouls have proven adept to take on just about anything; heart-melting folk, three part harmony pop, slow moseying countrified psych, motorik voyages into hypnosis, and deep fried retro jangle. As varied as their sound can be, Ryan Wong (guitar/vocals) needs more. More room to explore ideas don't necessarily fit with Cool Ghouls, which brings us to More Milk, Wong's solo debut. A spectacular mix of acoustic psych and dreamy folk, you'd be forgiven for thinking the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Which is to simply say these songs continue Wong's great songwriting.
"Shopkeeper Rag," the EP's second single is built on a tight jangle, acoustic guitars and Wong's brilliant vocal melody setting a warm and relaxed tone. It's as inviting as can be as he literally sings "come on in, look around, see what you like". As the song contorts ever so slightly, the gentle psych vibes touch upon the casual disorientation of The Zombies or The Byrds, while retaining its own whimsical bent. "Shopkeeper Rag" unfolds into a gorgeous flute assisted sprawl, keeping the delicate pacing and paisley glory in full bloom. It's the shop you'll want to return to again and again, so don't be frightened.
Ryan Wong's More Milk is out August 4th via Empty Cellar Records.