BRIDGET WISHART & THE BAND OF DOCTORS – Ghost

Submarine Broadcasting Company 2020

From science fiction to the science of fine arts and beyond: former femme fatale of space-rock finds delicate delights in spectrum of specters.

BRIDGET WISHART &
THE BAND OF DOCTORS –
Ghost

Despite her presence at the front of HAWKWIND in the "Space Bandits" era and helping SPIRITS BURNING reach for the future on the likes of "Make Believe It Real" as well as taking part in other numerous projects, the real Ms Wishart remains an enigma. Bridget’s not averse to acknowledging this fact, yet she seemed to be in no hurry to reveal her true self, opting to concentrate on studies instead of stage and venturing behind the scenes to get an MFA and define what it’s all about. Still, music has never been far away, and the singer’s 2017 contribution to a charity record resulted not only in the CD’s placing in the British Library Archive but also in the appearance of THE BAND OF DOCTORS where a few instrumentalists boast of the titular degree, in the English vocalist joining her American friends, and in the performer finally spreading wings as a writer.

“Sorrow” – the piece that started it all – opens the spectral proceedings with a powerful, if unhurried, groove and Wishart’s seductive whisper seeping into the listener’s psyche to loom larger and larger before her voice gets so strong as to radiate cosmic worry, set the raga-tinctured drift on fire, and pass the torch to the mesmeric expanse of the album’s title track. Further down the line, the piano-laden, jazzy “Rift” will find Bridget bridging the gap between spoken-word-enhanced avant-garde and camped-up electric vaudeville, but the cabaret-styled, sax-smeared “One Of The Faithful” and the woodwind-wired “Companion Of The Swan” shine a different, much warmer light on her delivery, and such an old-timey approach suits her extremely well. Yet there’s epic rage, too, Russell Brown’s infectious riffs and guitar harmonies behind “End Their Cries” full of social awareness, calling for refugee relief, and the hectic “Manic Primatic” marrying tribal dance to outlandish funk as Gabriel Monticello’s bass and Steve Primatic’s drums engage in a dynamic battle which doesn’t require any words.

The dramatic balladry of “Woven In Time” does, though, as cello, violin and six-string strum stress the supple quality of Tom FitzStephens’s pipes supported by operatic female backing and Wishart’s folk-informed banshee wail, while the finale of “If You Call” bristles with sinister sonics that feed new-wave psychedelia to pure pop in most arresting manner. And this is how it should be when space rock turns inwards, to one’s inner world – it’s a quiet conquest of a not-so-phantom kind – and conscience, for all proceeds from “Ghost” go to Refugee Action.

****2/3

May 3, 2021

Category(s): Reviews
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