Drawn Ship, alternate rock outfit from VanCity, is a mix of quirk and minimalistic sound. Despite adding a third member for a fuller sound, the original two-piece Lyn Heinemann (guitar/vocals) and Gregg Steffensen (drums) still aimed to keep things simple in Ghost Weight, their sophomore album. What keeps things interesting is gorgeous melodies and crafty instrumentation. It certainly helps with the melodies when you have guest appearances from Hannah Georgas and Mother Mother’s Ryan Guldemond.
The lyrics are melancholic. Don’t let that bring you down though! (get it?). Songs like “Break Up Math” or “Call Up John” have the distinct ability to make you sing-along the verses and choruses after initial listens. Only when you pause and realize that you were singing “in the morning when I woke / every cloud is filled with blood”, does the sadness sinks in. Heinemann’s fascination with Louis Riel continues on this record as well with songs like “Gabriel Dumont”, when she yearns “will you come back to Red river” and Orangemen, detailing how the Orange Order in Canada supressed the rebellions of Riel. I learnt a lot more about Canadian politics from this album than Grade 9 History!
The simplistic sound sometimes does steer towards sounding too monotonous (“Living the Grownup Life”). Yet, the smooth vocals of Heinemann and guests paired with effective musicality and gloomy lyrics do have a calming effect, making it worthy of repeat listens. Ghost Weight is proof that simple music can be engaging and history can be fun.