Without Ghosts opens with a thumping drum that can be equated to the beating of heart, but quickly strays from this path (and by quickly, I mean, four or five seconds), instead opting to explore a mixture of both electronic and electric instruments, crafting a dense, atmospheric sound, complete with clicks and buzzing you’d expect to hear come from a recording made in the basement of the teenage “rock stars” next door. This comparison, however, does not apply to any content beyond the vinyl-style noise.
The often-significantly-altered drums presented on Without Ghosts present an interestingly unique style; the raising pitch of cymbal crashes on “A Wheelchair For Mrs. Ruple” being a notable application of such, as well as the muffled, almost synthesized feeling they are given on “Nothing Is Sacred,” a piece in which the vocals are given a similar treatment, as a distinctly electronic-filter-sounding voice sings “If I had money, I’d buy you the world, and then I would blow it up.”
The largely instrumental piece, “The Kids Are Dead” seems to exemplify the sound Bridge and Tunnel strove for on Without Ghosts — the dense-but-forgiving atmosphere, flowing instrumentation, and ultimately soothing style, topped with a smooth woodwind (likely an oboe or clarient, but behind all of the noise, it begins to obfuscate its true origins.) combine to create the unmistakable sound of Bridge and Tunnel. Another notable largely instrumental track is “Tulsa,” which follows in the same vein as “The Kids Are Dead,” but with the sound of whistling reverberating over the backing instrumentation instead of a woodwind.
At the very least, Without Ghosts is a consistent album; it builds and maintains an interesting sound, continuing to expound upon that sound until the album’s close. From the introductory “A Wheelchair For Mrs. Ruple,” to the samples of sounds from the classic Super Mario Bros. used in “Smash Up,” Bridge and Tunnel has crafted an album worthy of at least one listen, though it would be an injustice to stop there.