[EP REVIEW] Eva Gardner – Chasing Ghosts

Chasing Ghosts tracklist:

  1. Forever Is Never
  2. Dirty Bird
  3. Conversations
  4. Please Don’t
  5. Smoke Signals

 Reviewed by Casper

I offer a blanket apology for my lofty heights of gleeful enthusiasm along with utilising the term ‘jump on it’ more frequently than The Sugarhill Gang could have hoped to achieve, but Kemosabe the raw reality is that Chasing Ghosts is bursting with more appeal than could reasonably be expected from an EP. 

This is the debut release from Eva Gardner who besides being the bass belting beauty gracing the stages of P!nk tours since 2007, possesses a wealth of musical experience and the inherent prowess gleaned from multigenerational musical brilliance. 

Eva Gardner really requires no introduction for musical aficionados the world over, but given her fan base is about to expand exponentially, it seems appropriate to include a short biography of her musical achievements.  

Being born into musical surroundings with her father Kim Gardner being the bassist for bands such as The Thunderbirds, who later became The Birds, The Creation and Ashton, Gardner and Dyke.  Kim was a genuine component of the British Invasion of the 60’s and enriched Eva and her surroundings with everything that is the performing musician’s heart and soul.   With Eva picking up the bass at a very young age and parent presumably convinced that music was to be a lifelong pursuit, Eva’s first Fender Precision bass appeared under the Christmas tree when she was still only fifteen years old. Scarcely any wonder Eva perused a career in the musical crafts but unlike so many of similar ilk, a formal education was sought including a degree (with honours) in Ethnomusicology with from UCLA (Cum Laude).  Having toured the world many times over with a myriad of talent including The Mars Volta, Moby, Veruca Salt, Gwen Stefani, Tegan & Sara and Cher and the unique distinction of being the first female musician to have a signature bass with Fender, it seems to me that considering such a distinguished career, expectations are high for her debut EP to ooze experience and appeal.  Given that Eva has managed to exceed those expectations so vastly with Chasing Ghosts is reason enough for me to start with the deafening shrieks of ‘get on it’ because this exciting collection is not to be missed.

Before Forever Is Never formally opens the proceedings I do advise that you soak up every ounce of the immediate appeal by turning the volume up significantly more than usual and leave all expectations behind as you press play.  Your about to be thrilled by a smashing collision of Shoegaze, Pop Rock, Nu Gaze, elements of Ethereal Wave and even Punk Rock and instantaneously you are captured by the myriad of creative elements that combine in a harmonious serenade of your every molecule.

Many have already enjoyed the endless appeal of Dirty Bird and its captivating array of musical, vocal and lyrical elements but as you listen to the track in sequence on this EP, it becomes even more appealing as in integral component of the collective article.   In fact, if you thought that Dirty Bird had hooks a plenty, the entire EP has more hooks than a pirate convention.  As much you feel utterly gobsmacked by the entire work, every return to explore further brings endless subtle surprises that were previously nestled beneath the surface, but it is in these elements that Eva’s experience, technical knowledge and natural prowess come to the fore.  This sublime work is representative of literally decades of musical elements from 60’s classic rock cleverly entwined in Conversations with more contemporary Punk Rock and everything in between. 

Just as you feel like you have a handle on this unique sound and style, Eva moves the goal posts with a more traditionally styled and hauntingly beautiful Please Don’t.  For a track that seems subdued in comparison to its predecessors, it in fact unfolds into a veritable treasure trove of contributing elements, but returns to focus of the astonishingly beautiful delivery of lyrics. 

Smoke Signals conveys a more menacing atmosphere of looming doom and one wonder that fate of the subject should they refuse to “open your heart and get out of my head”.  Rosy feelings or not, one can’t help wonder what will befall as the instrumental delivery provides an utterly brilliant air of creeping malevolence to accompany the superb vocals.    

This magnificent EP is thoroughly representative of the creative skill one is quite entitled to expect from an artist of Eva Gardner’s heritage and experience, but the height of appeal is the factor that eludes most who strive to genuine musical greatness.  Something that reaches further inside the listener than mere skilful writing and performing.  That additional dimension that is so abundantly apparent but usually sans adequate description.  With this masterful collection, Eva demonstrates her ability to breathe ‘life’ into a series of words and sounds, affording her music a genuine soul all it’s own.   

I have consciously resisted the temptation to offer unsolicited advice to jump on it but firmly believe this amazing work belongs in every music collection.  There is the natural appeal to Bass players and admirers of Eva’s rhythmic skill along with fans of female fronted performance and those who have watched in awe of her on stage, but this EP is so much more.  This work conveys such great measure of experience, knowledge and reverence to styles past that transforms it into so much more than an extended play, but to many, it will be simply great music with vast and timeless appeal.  Yes, that magical formula that keeps us reaching for classics and favourites again and again.  This is one collection that you can rest assured will gather no dust.