More than dissatisfied
With the people that run our lives
And I know that we’re candles
And I know that we’re floating in water
Kansas City’s Josh Thomas (High Diving Ponies, Spidermums) has embarked upon a new ‘sorrowwave’ project called RxGhost. Drummer Justin Brooks, guitarist James Capps, and bassist Chris Smead join him in what Thomas describes as “weirdo shoegaze music,” but with this project the music is bigger, crisper, and cleaner. Literally.
RxGhost is the result of Josh Thomas ‘making a project out of himself.’ Prior to the pandemic, Thomas was struggling with a stressful job and addiction.
“I was a mess, my voice was destroyed from chugging whiskey, freebasing occasionally, and all the bile from throwing up daily,” Thomas says of those dark days. “I was an absolute disaster…I was worried that I couldn’t write sober, or that it wouldn’t be as interesting. If anything, it’s easier to write now, and far easier to remember later what I wrote.”
After Thomas returned home from a failed attempt at getting clean, his ex-wife convinced him that he had to go to rehab if he was going to live. This, and the realization that he needed to beat addiction for himself as well as others, was the wake-up call he needed.
Recovery has been an ongoing process, but Thomas is hopeful that his artistic commitments will help give him the necessary focus to stay clean and creative for his family, band, and himself. During his time in rehab, Thomas started writing new material, or tinkering with half-finished compositions. Due to various obstacles, the band had to sit on the sidelines for several years. Smead’s addition was a welcome creative infusion, and Thomas is currently setting up a new home studio. Happily, the band picked up where they had left off, and found a new, revived synergy among them.
The result is their emotionally charged new EP, Scaffolding. Although the content is distorted and melancholic, the album serves as a catharsis for Thomas and the rest of RxGhost.
The poignant opening song, Candles, rails against the expectations of a late capitalist society exploiting its workers. Wasted momentum and fighting over crumbs take up much of our time and energy…is it worth it? Channeling the guitar work of Pixies and My Bloody Valentine alike, this is an anthem for questioning the status quo. People Are Animals is a powerfully heartbreaking song about alienation and the realization that one is living in a nightmare they cannot awaken from. The theme is revisited with In A Mitten, taken from a point of crossroads in one’s tumultuous life. The outro song, Sharks, also delves into the theme of alienation and loneliness fueling feelings of disconnect and addiction.
While all of these themes, and the album itself, are quite sombre, the exorcism seems to have done Josh Thomas a lot of good on a personal level.
“I’m probably about as happy as I’ve ever been,” he enthuses. “Things feel fresh and exciting. It was rough last decade, but I feel more on top of my shit than I ever have.”
This collection of songs are part of a larger set of fifteen songs that will come out on vinyl and cassette towards the end of the year.
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