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Arts and Entertainment

Headphone - Ghostwriter | Left In The Shadows

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Artist: Headphone

GhostwriterLabel: Play It Again Sam
Release Date: May 19th, 2008

If modeling oneself after another prolific, wildly successful band didn't carry such a flagrant stigma in this day and age, then Headphone's 2008 debut Ghostwriter would bring you to your knees. The diminutive Ghent-based trio are among the second legitimate wave of groups to emerge from the latter-day Radiohead sound. And as such, they are liable to heavy scrutiny and, undoubtedly, deaf ears.

Ghostwriter battles despairingly against the past and, furthermore, what has already been conveyed. Even the opening track, "In White Rooms," finds front man Ian Marien howling dirges around a zigzag frame of afflicted bass lines and barren drums. The likeness to Muse, who could be considered among the first legitimate wave, is uncanny.

Yet they frequently employ these recognizable musical endearments to force you look beyond the similarities. Songs like "Skinner" make use of petulant expression, carrying a distinct tinge of Thom Yorke's vulnerability circa Kid A. For some though, Marien may be simply parroting back a signature tone.

Headphone - "Ghostwriter"

But the title track of Headphone's debut, "Ghostwriter," finds the band getting down to brass tacks. Heavy repetitive guitar and bass lines dominate a blaring brew of beats, giving way to a unique sound they could potentially call their own. And in doing so, they significantly alter the album's course in ways that may mute the overbearing affiliation.

The latter half of 2008's Ghostwriter is reached much more decisively. But beyond the resemblance of tone the likeness in the construction of both is evident. For it is a predominantly piano-based songwriting process that typifies this all-too-familiar blend of abrasive electronica and infectious pop rock. However, the overall achievement—the overwhelming consistency—seems central to the evolution of music. Sometimes the process of learning hinges upon sincere imitation.