“Hypocritical Oath”

Belfast artist Jason Mills’s Deadman’s Ghost is nothing if the adjective “haunting” is not in front of whatever description you come up with. Death, ghosts, dead men, spirits, corpses, sprites, tragedy – all this stuff (and I realize most of these words are synonyms for each other, especially within the world Mills is creating) permeates the songs of Hypocritical Oath, an electo-folk excursion where Appalachian-backporch-acoustics (think Nick Cave or David Eugene Edwards at their most earthy) meet synthesizers and other electronics in the air, in the clouds, literally raptured and well met by the risen Lord Jesus Christ, returned to judge and to save. Wow! There’s, uh, at least banjo and some serious self-reflection that I imagine turns up in the Bible Belt here in the United States, and probably in Ireland too at points. Who is really to say anymore – it’s all just a big swirly pagan mess in a cauldron simmering for maximum jucifying, leavened with thick slabs of meaty synthesizer at points to remind you that you’re not really in an un-air-conditioned church in the heat of the rural Alabama summer handling venomous snakes. At least “Neck Romancer” has the decency to drop a beat! “Neck Romancer” … I get it. Hey, you should get it too! This tape, I mean. I’m digging it.

--Ryan Masteller