A Step into a Larger World
The cover art for The Soles CD immediately evokes much of the style and mood of the music within. An angry fist is crossed over and replaced with an open heart, a visual symbol complimenting the lyrics, which gently but insistently call for a paradigm shift toward a more enlightened world. With Din Yalonen providing vocals and guitar, Marc Merlilainen handling bas, and Gabe Girard on drums, "Broken Ghost" is a musical tour de force, taking listeners a little closer to the world, and perhaps even the better part of themselves.
The title track is one of the stand-outs of the CD, poignantly conjuring up the hollow reality of the homeless. With some brilliant imagery, it achingly captures the half-life of those surviving on the streets, and also the indifference of those who are far more fortunate. The rhythm is energetic and magical, without a false note throughout the song. The ghost metaphor is appropriately haunting, painting the homeless as those who cannot be seen or heard or even touched. The last lines call out of the main themes of the whole piece, namely the shared identity of us all, and the existential confusion that comes from dividing those who have with those who don't.
The second song, "JLV," continues the big themes. It plays a bt with the paradoxical role of saviors in the world, be they Gandhi or Christ. Rather than seeing them as external agents come into the world from without, it spins the proverbial finger pointing at the moon back at our own hearts, identifying them as that which comes from within. As opposed to being a shallow abstraction dimly understood, the savior is concretely proclaiming that "I am every one of you." In its nicey paced and pitched execution, attentive listeners discover that we love our neighbors as ourselves because, ultimately, that's who they truly are.
Next up is "Illusion" and yet again, a philosophical theme is solidly embedded in the memorable beats. The first lines illustrate the fundamental illusion of light and sound in our mind, or at least their inherently transitory nature, as they're already gone by the time we catch them.This pattern of our sense impressions is then likened to the illusory way we see and interact with the world, ignoring the symbiont circle we all share in favor of a separate, acquisitive ego. It also posits the fundamental error that outward aggression will somehow evolve into inner peace, harkening back to the earlier insight of the one life in all things.
"Salvation" promises that it wil come, but also realizes that it can ultimately arise only from within. It charts a litany of all the sources that one can't attain it from, the rhythm continuing the theme that base acquisitiveness isn't the way, even of spiritual ideals. Salvation doesn't lie in the past or future, our notions of good and bad, or even all the media-dictated stories that pass for our reality. It simply yet powerfully cites the ancient spiritual truth that peace in the world can only arise when there's peace in the hearts of individuals. It cannot be given by those who don't possess it themselves.
The final song makes good on it's title, namey "Joy." Heartfelt and inspirational, it nicely rounds out the others, punctuating all that has come before. The opening lines conjure up Yoda from "The Empire Strikes Back," particularly his adage of "doing" rather than simply "trying." "Joy" goes deeper, however, offering the realization that just "being" is more vital and fundamental than each. It calls on us to create joy rather than wasting time on systems that all too often fail, offering an unflinching confidence that we will all eventually find our way out of the dark. Our case simply can't be a hopeless one, because of the underlying, powerful reality of the ground of all being that each of us share and walk upon.
In conclusion, "Broken Ghost" is a beautiful collection of music from The Soles, boastin a real poetry and a real art. Listening to this work is like taking a first step into a larger world, truer, more harmonious world, iuminating what we know but all too often forget. The beats are well played and executed, the lyrics memorable and evocative, both resulting in a rhythm and harmony that promises to live on in those who hear it long after the actual musi has ended.