Handsome Ghost is a Massachusetts-based band with a recently released debut album, “Welcome Back.” The above picture shows producer/multi-instrumentalist Eddie Byun and vocalist/songwriter Tim Noyes. Originally, Handsome Ghost was the sole project of Noyes.
The mixing of their single “Shallow City” is equalitarian in nature. That is, while the first impression may be that the track is vocals-centric, an analytical listen supports the conclusion that no single contribution rules “Shallow City.” The vocals are passionate and impactful, but it’s accomplished while the voice remains slightly hushed, similar to the early work of The xx. That allows even the low-profile contributions to play significant roles in the song’s texture. For example, starting at 0:22, there is a sound of violin plucking (pizzicato). More prominently, the synth temporarily seizes control at times, such as during the outro.
Tim Noyes was a teacher before launching the project, which is the same career shift as Sting and Mark Knopler of Dire Straits (as well as Gene Simmons of Kiss). While teaching at a high school in the Bronx, Noyes moonlighted as a musician at open-mics and soon realized that he wanted to pursue music full time. Eddie Byun accompanied Noyes on the first tour by Handsome Ghost, and is now a member of the band.
The sound of Handsome Ghost is a mixture of organic sounds and acoustic instruments with electronic textures. Their songs have a heavy focus on vocal melody, tone, and emotional delivery.