"You told me all about your life, before you were my father's wife", begins "Leslie", the second track on Gross Ghost's debut album Brer Rabbit. Frontman Mike Dillion's song about his sick mother paints a very personal narrative. Although this may sound more like singer-songwriter fare, the sentiments are carried by scuzzy electric guitars. The Carrboro band's first album could have easily just aimed to copy similar fuzzy, sunny indie-pop darlings like Surfer Blood or Girls. After all, the elements are all there — lazy vocals, loose, jangly rythms and grungy guitars with a spacey reverb that makes songs sound like a drive to the beach — but the band keeps the familiar sound fresh with well-crafted songs while are all under four minutes long and filled with intimate, honest lyrical content.
The album also hints at further experimentation beyond current indie pop conventions. "Lazy Little Walk" begins with a jazz-influenced bass line and hi-hat beat while "Tenements" is a more stripped down song that incorporates violins. The songs are still catchy as hell and don't overstay their welcome, but it's those little touches that hint at future outward expansion into other genres. Gross Ghost is sure to build a bigger following in the coming months, but don't write them off as just another buzz band. Brer Rabbit deserves a close listen and shows room for further growth.