Comprised of Keith Beshwate (vocals, guitar, primary songwriter), Zach Mullen (guitar, vocals), Chris Pulley (drums), Nick Hartman (bass), and Eric Atkinson (keys, guitar and horns), the Southern California-based quintet Ghosts in Pocket formed in 2011. The quintet released their debut effort, Shadowbox in 2013 but it’s the forthcoming release of their follow up EP, Barberton, which takes its name from the town of Barberton, in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa, best known for some of the world’s oldest known mountain ranges. Beshwaite, the band’s primary songwriter had stumbled onto Barberton and adapted the concept to the EP’s material in what he feels is the root of the band’s sound with the title track reportedly speaking to a beginning — both in the lyrics and the song structure.
The EP’s first single, EP-title track “Barberton” is comprised of the sort of angular guitar stabs, four-on-the-floor drumming and crooned vocals that bear an uncanny resemblance to Joy Division, Interpol and countless others; however, lyrically, the song covers unusually strained interpersonal relationships with a mournful, melancholic feel and a desperate desire to connect with someone that reminds me quite a bit of the work of The National. It possesses a frank, emotional urgency that’s rare in a day of sneering and defensive irony.