Ghost Hands is the last song The Music ever released. The Leeds four-piece recorded it for what was meant to be their fourth studio album, but instead it was made a free download on the band’s website in April 2011, just after The Music had announced their split.
The Music’s cessation, after 12 years of creating amazing music, was a result of vocalist and guitarist Robert Harvey deciding he wasn’t enjoying being a part of the band anymore.
About the track and The Music’s small-scale farewell tour, Harvey said:
“We love the track and it just seemed a shame to leave it gathering dust for ever. It’s good to go out with something positive and new and we think it deserves to see the light of day. Hopefully the fans will agree – again we want to thank everyone who’s been with us on this journey and look forward to celebrating an amazing ten years this summer.”
However sad it is when such a talented and unique band parts ways, and though it would have been interesting to hear what The Music’s fourth album sounded like, it is undeniably admirable that Harvey made the hard decision to call it quits rather than forcing himself into unenthused productivity.
A forced album born of perceived obligation alone could only be disappointing; a stand-alone belter like this is a statement of intention and acceptance – a definitive move to end a career on a high note.
Ghost Hands goes beyond “something positive and new” – it is an absolute gem. Though unadventurous and not his best vocal performance, Harvey’s vocals are tight and sit nicely among multi-textured guitars. Atop this is perhaps the most notable element of this track: the synthy swirl which skims in and out of the limelight to pair perfectly with the track’s catchy chorus. Though admittedly simplistic in terms of lyrics (“we get up, we get up, we make history”), it’s the delivery of the words, compounded by repetition, which renders the last chorus The Music ever released so uplifting.
It is a real shame, though, that The Music didn’t make history like they should have. A rock band who combine well-written songs, powerful, emotive vocals, thunderous guitars and poetic lyrics* (“the sky is just a diamond reflecting the sea” is a phrase which will remain etched in my mind for eternity) which such clarity and form deserve to be seen and heard by the masses.
Ever-evolving but seemingly eternally mismatched with the musical times they sprung so fearlessly into, I can’t help but feel The Music’s ill-timed existence in the music industry was detrimental to their scope of audience. Alas, it is almost like the band acknowledged their boundless energy, submission to creative reinvention, and their subsequent private successes within the very lyrics of their own swansong: “We get up, we get up, we make history.”
A graceful bow on a darkening stage, Ghost Hands is a hat-tip to the wonderful niche of rock music that The Music found and built upon.