Label: Self release Release date: 06/12/2010 Website: Myspace The Hurt Kingdom is the debut EP from East Midlands trio To Bury A Ghost. Recorded by Dimmu Borgir cohort Russ Russell, the EP marks the beginning of a new sound for multi-instrumentalist Jon Stolber. Formerly playing under the name of The Hungry I, he has now enhanced his songwriting and sound with the addition of a couple of extra band members - drummer Rupert Bodington and Marc Bansgrove on bass. This development has brought a louder dynamic with their use of percussion especially bringing a more progressive slant to his previous lo-fi output. Opening with the recent free download ‘Birthday’, this track is chilling in the way it initially opens and creeps up on you with menacing strings, inconspicuous drums and then the quietly delivered, almost whispered, vocals that launch into a more harmonious outpouring. The middle of the song’s breakdown of bass, piano and drums is foot-tapping and the array of instruments used collide in a way that brings to mind ‘Muscle Museum’-era Muse. The final section of the song moves from this rock sound to a more Danny Elfman film soundtrack feel, showing a band willing to discover, and embrace, different genres and ideas. They’re willing to take the odd surprise turn that makes the listener’s ears prick up and challenges them, but in the best way possible. The second track is the industrial sounding ‘Coming Up For Air’, but this mechanised tone does not last long - heavy post-rock guitars soon come in screeching all over the place. It is experimental, dark in lyrics and tone and owes more than a little debt to the rockier aspects of Radiohead, but that’s no bad thing. A hell of a lot of noise and instruments are battling to be heard, and it tires you out listening to it, but opens your eyes to all the possibilities they will achieve. These ambitious post-rock leanings continue with the ethereal ‘Jaws Of Love’. A little quieter than what has come before it, but no less demanding of your attention, its draped in a melancholic sound that at first recalls the likes of Yndi Halda and even early Elbow. But it is when this song moves up a gear at around the two-minute mark, reminiscent of the criminally under-rated The Cooper Temple Clause at their most extreme, that you realise just how imperative the vulnerable spirit and soundscape of TBAG can become. And that distinctive voice and haunting falsetto make sure they very much keep their own sound alive. Another change in pace and direction follows with the instrumental joy of ‘Beginning Is The End’ - a worthy finale to any release. Piano, glockenspiels and military drumming all combine to create a broad and sweeping sound that could rival Talons for melodic tension. As an added bonus, there is also a remix of ‘Coming Up For Air’ by Lee J Malcolm of Vessels, that adds a dance beat, glitches and samples to proceedings – as if they needed anything more to be going on! An EP that is full of marvel and surprise, it won’t be buried in your collection, and this is one ghost you’ll surely want to keep around. Photobucket