Ohio-born singer-songwriter Joshua Radin made his debut in 2006 with ‘We Were Here’. His second album, ‘Simple Times’, saw him enjoy an international breakthrough charting at number 9 on the album charts here in the UK. With eight albums under his belt and plenty of miles travelled touring the world, Radin is today releasing his ninth studio album ‘The Ghost and the Wall’.
‘The Ghost and the Wall’ was written and recorded during the pandemic, and as Radin told me in our recent interview it was an interesting and different process. Radio worked alongside producer Jonathan Wilson but the two had never met in person when they started collaborating. Instead the album took shape with Radin recording his parts at home and communicating with Wilson via messaging and video calls. You’d think that would make for a disjointed collection of songs but ‘The Ghost and the Wall’ is incredibly cohesive.
Once dubbed the ‘Whisper Rock King’, Radin’s familiar voice is comforting as ‘Goodbye’ kicks off the record. The song is an emotional goodbye to a relationship that had a significant impact but had run its course. With urgent guitar picking providing the backing to Radin’s hushed tone, it’s a gorgeous opener for an album that has plenty to offer. ‘Fewer Ghosts’ opens with a guitar riff reminiscent of Leonard Cohen’s mighty ‘Hallelujah’ while lyrically the song explores Radin’s late start in his music career and his personal struggles. It hits you right in the heart and you can’t help but be moved.
The tempo and the mood picks up on the bouncy ‘Better Life’, which is a moment of optimism that feels more important today than it perhaps ever has before. Across the record Radin dissects past relationships and his own battles such as on the gorgeous but heartbreaking ‘Make It Easy’ while on other moments, he offers hope and a shoulder to lean on such as on the highlight ‘I’ll Be Your Friend’. On ‘Not Today’ Radin looks forward to better days and reflects on the impact the pandemic has had on us all.
The album’s standout moment is ‘You’re My Home’, which Radin sings with an urgency that elevates the song. The chorus crashes into a louder pop/rock arrangement than the rest of the songs here, and you long for the moment you can pack into Shepherds Bush Empire and watch Radin perform the song live. Album closer ‘Next To Me’ finds Radin searching for ‘the one’ as he makes his way through the world and lives his life. It’s a song that is sure to resonate and it’s a powerful way to bring the album to an end.
‘The Ghost and the Wall’ is a strong record from Radin. He’s carved out his niche and sound over the past 15 years, and there’s something so comforting about his music. Telling real stories that the listener can connect with, Radin continues to showcase himself as one of music’s finest storytellers. Fans are going to lap the record up and if you’ve never listened to Radin’s music before, ‘The Ghost and the Wall’ is a great place to start.
Track listing: 1. Goodbye 2. Fewer Ghosts 3. Better Life 4. Make It Easy 5. Hey You 6. I’ll Be Your Friend 7. You’re My Home 8. Not Today 9. Till The Morning 10. Next To Me Record label: Nettwerk Release date: 23rd July 2021 Buy ‘The Ghost and the Wall’ now