Released January 27, 2014
The opening track, “Forgiven,” creates a grey mood from its first notes. Its factory-like drone stretches for over seven minutes, the two chords changing in small and interesting ways yet staying the same. It’s the kind of song that could be annoying but makes me excited to hear more.
Unfortunately, Ghettoville doesn’t deliver on the promise of “Forgiven.” While every song has an interesting idea—a rhythm, a chord progression, a riff—few of the ideas evolve into anything special. Worse, the grey mood from the first few tracks slowly falls apart as the album progresses. “Corner” centers on a simplistic riff that could’ve come from an early Depeche Mode album, “Skyline” relies on a generic beat, and “Rap” sounds like one of The Weeknd’s throwaway riffs.
Years ago, I read an interesting piece of advice: unless your album is better than Rumours, make sure it’s shorter. If Darren Cunningham had cut Ghettoville from nearly 70 minutes to less than 40, he might have had a great album. As it is, this is simply a collection of unrelated ideas that never reach their potential.