Anyone's Ghost: A Good Winter in June - EP Review
I sit writing this review, listening to Nathan, the opening track on Anyone's Ghost's debut EP, A Good Winter in June. It's a chilling murder ballad-meets-declaration of deathless love, a nine-minute masterclass in emotive songwriting, a gothic horror story come to live. It's an incredible, jaw-dropping statement of purpose from one of the best up-and-coming songwriters active today. And it's not even the best track on this stunning record.
Anyone's Ghost is the solo project of Manchester-based singer-songwriter, Wanda Roslyn. After cutting her teeth on the open mic circuit, she's teamed up with local label Bread Records for her debut release, combining her unmistakable gift of storytelling and ear for detail into a stark, haunting record about love and death.
Take a track like the closing Eurycide for just one example of what makes this record so special. Upon my first listen, I had to go back and keep listening to it on repeat. It's one of the most direct songs here, its harrowing refrain of "there's no saving anything" lingering long after the EP ends. It sounds like the best horror films feel like, with Roslyn's ethereal harmonies like spectral ghosts carried in light, her intricate guitar lines reverberating like a cold gale. It's dark stuff, but comforting, too. It encapsulates the winter of the record's title, and I imagine I'll only be listening to it more and more as days get darker.
Roslyn is a songwriter who draws inspiration from many great contemporaries - comparisons could be made to The National (who's own Anyone's Ghost is covered here), Julien Baker, and Frightened Rabbit. The latter of which is especially relevant as the track re: December's Traditions is a tribute to Roslyn's friend, the late Scott Hutchison. The track invokes Hutchison's lyrics from Who'd You Kill Now?, a beautiful freeze-frame of a cold winter night. "I cross that threshold, inside your corpse bones: I tie all my seasons to you" is one of many lyrics on the project that stirred me, evoking anxiety-ridden, frostbit memories. Every song is cinematic in detail, and microscopic in its surgical dissections of haunting scenes. Michael Webster's incredible production provides a wintry, skeletal backdrop across the record, drawing the listener in to Anyone's Ghost's world.
It's testament to Roslyn's artistry that every track on the EP is a highlight in its own right. Each minute detail sticks with you upon listen, from the piercing scream of By The Bearing of my Teeth, Étienne to the devastating tale of loss that is Hypothetical End. Read through the lyrics of any song and you'll find sucker punches like "I will allow myself grief and hope I come back empty handed", or "Darling, when I met you everything stopped existing". The songs can be an intense listen sometimes in how visceral and bloody they are, but its details like these that set Anyone's Ghost apart from other singer-songwriters. Her vision is hers and hers alone - not many other bands can cover an act as amazing as The National on their debut release, and improve upon the original song (incidentally, the only other artist I've known to do this, Bartees Strange, is a similarly phenomenal artist).
A Good Winter in June may be a record made for the colder months, but listening to it at the peak of summer, I felt completely absorbed into its own universe, transfixed by this marvel of an EP. Anyone's Ghost make an incredibly bold statement with this sublime record. Like all good ghost stories, it lingers in the memory long after it ends, and invites you back for more.
Key lyric: Every time I think I'm happy, I think it'll be the last time.
Find Anyone's Ghost at the following links.