Mari & The Ghost Channel the Spirit of Radio

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Jean-Marc Lederman has several incarnations. The Belgian composer and musician is sometimes known as one-half of The Weathermen, or as Kid Montana, depending on the style of music or collaborator of the moment. In his guise as The Ghost, he has previously appeared with Frank Spinath (Seabound) in Ghost & Writer and on a single with Mari Kattman as Mari & The Ghost. The latter project has now grown into a full album, showing off Lederman’s synthpop credentials and Kattman’s dream-like vocals.

Superstitions traces an arc through the spectrum of radio-friendly poptronica. From the opening of “Satellite,” the album unfolds with grace and poise. There is something of a Sarah McLachlan feel to Kattman’s contributions, which will draw comparisons to parts of Delirium’s catalogue, but there are also hints of Madonna’s Ray of Light period. In part, this comes from Kattman’s background as a choral singer, but her style as a lead vocalist is as much about creating atmosphere as it is telling a story.

The stand-out track on the album is a song that has already been issued as a single. “Wolves” trips along with a deceptively simple synth line over a bubbling sequence, carried by rhythms and pads, while Kattman’s voice soars overhead. It’s the restraint shown by Lederman’s production, allowing the tension to build within the track, that is its main strength – a feat repeated throughout the album. The lack of bombast compresses the material and maintains interest across ten tracks of classy synthpop.

Out now on Bandcamp.

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