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Ghostly Beard is the moniker of a mysterious musical figure from Montreal, and he has recently released his third CD, Inward, which is a continuation of his jazzy, psychedelic pop style influenced by the likes of XTC and Steely Dan. There are a number of artists today who prefer to stay anonymous, but Ghostly Beard’s desire to let the music speak for itself is admirable, especially considering that all proceeds from the sale of this album go to the charity MusiCounts which provides musical education to children in need. Of course, it also helps that the music is fantastic, and Ghostly Beard’s all-encompassing grasp of artsy pop injects the album with a sunny infectiousness.
Whether mimicking the casually psychedelic side of Beatles pop on songs like “How Does It Feel?” or slipping into something more comfortably jazzy like “Let Go,” Ghostly Beard sounds perfectly at home with any stylistic detour. A true centerpiece of the album, however, is the seven minute long mini pop opera “9 to 5 (Barely Alive).” It captures the best of similar experiments from Pink Floyd and The Who without the added baggage of overlong egotistical indulgences. Ultimately, the true identity behind the beard doesn’t really matter, because Inward stands on its own as a shining, highly original example of the limitless possibilities of pop music.
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