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Intensity Ghost is the first studio release by Chris Forsyth with the Solar Motel Band (the new group formed in the wake of his critically acclaimed 2013 solo record Solar Motel) and it's a career-defining statement of purpose and a near virtual history tour of late 20th century electric guitar, touching on widescreen psychedelia, art rock, the late-70's New York scene, and the melting pot of early 90's underground bands, but writing a whole new chapter, unforeseen by most in 2014.
Solar Motel was received as a singular work of guitarroristic finesse, turning up across many year ends lists (Uncut, New Yorker, etc) and provoking ecstatic comparisons to psychedelic visionaries and the countless champions of guitar-based music who tend to outlive the trends.
Whereas Solar Motel was a Forsyth solo album recorded with an ad hoc studio band, upon its release Forsyth put together a group of players to tour the record—bassist Peter Kerlin, guitarist Paul Sukeena (Spacin'), and drummer Steven Urgo (ex-The War on Drugs) - who took his vision to another level. Forsyth brought this group, now called The Solar Motel Band, into the studio in late 2013 to make Intensity Ghost, largely forsaking the epic sprawl of Solar Motel in favor of a startlingly diverse and focused set of songs. The result is a 5-track masterwork and a rare combination of power and grace.
Just as The Grateful Dead or Popul Vuh were able to embrace broad spectrums of sound and transform those influences, the Solar Motel Band distills Forsyth's message while avoiding any genre-exercises. Intensity Ghost is a giant sounding record, it's hall sized psychedelia filled with hooks and an immediacy rarely found in such sweeping, cinematic music. The influences are not hard to spot, but this is no retro reenactment trip. Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band synthesize rather than emulate what has come before, producing something all their own. Their music is expansive, yes, but also profoundly compelling and lyrical; no one is missing a singer in the Solar Motel Band. Forsyth's guitar makes sure of that.