As I was listening to the Ridges’ EP last night, a storm kicked up that colored the sky charcoal grey and blew leaves horizontally through the air. It seemed appropriate to the roll and swell of moody strings and beautiful but fraught vocals of the album.
Formed in Athens, Ohio, and consisting of core musicians Victor Rasgaitis (guitar), Talor Smith (cello) and Johnny Barton (percussion, glockenspiel) – with a rotating line-up of additional musicians contributing violin, viola, upright bass, trumpet, percussion, mandolin, cello and accordion – the Ridges took their name from the institution that was formerly the Athens Lunatic Asylum. And the band continues to draw inspiration from the old asylum. Not only was their album recorded in the ornate Victorian building, but the songs are imbued with an aching hauntedness that seems to reflect the ghost stories that surround any once-abandoned institution worth its salt.
That’s not to say that the self-titled EP is a non-stop dirge full of melodramatically gothic declarations of emotion. While none of the lyrical matter could be accused of being upbeat, many of the songs invite foot-stomping and sing-alongs. Listen to and download an example of what I mean with stand-out track “Not a Ghost”.
Now download the full EP at their Bandcamp site and get haunted.