The awkwardly-named Caught A Ghost is apparently the vehicle driven by Jesse Nolan. After hearing bits and pieces before getting this, I was hoping that it would be some sort of carrier of the baton surrendered by Amy Winehouse. It definitely has a bit of that along with some John Hall. This record has some modern sounds with a bit of sampling going on but much more often has a vintage soul vibe with a lot of live instrumentation including horns, woodwinds. Besides singing, Jesse plays many of the instruments (i.e. guitar, bass, and keys) on here as well as writing, producing, and mixing.
The first track “No Sugar in My Coffee” starts off with a kind of creepy cool sample of I don’t know what—card shuffling, backwards bass, and bones? Its abstract lyrics paint a picture of something gospel oriented and the song does have a choir singing about no sugar in their coffee which makes them “mean.”
“. uuu .” has a much more concrete lyrics than the title would suggest. This one definitely has a Winehouse feel with vintage Motown sound, horn licks, and lyrics of longing. Oh never mind, I see where the title comes from—the chorus.
Sources say Nolan says the band name comes from an old term musicians would use to complement someone on a great performance (e.g. “”you caught a ghost on that last number”).
Some bluesy soul searching soul in “Better” delivered similar to Stevie Wonder “…and I know that it’s going to get better, no, it could always be worse, and you tell me each day is a blessing, but some days feel like a curse.”
“Time Go” has more of a dark rap type verse recited over a 60’s pop style sparse rhythm guitar, with sung more inspirational chorus with a bit of some trippy backwards stuff going on here and there.
“Connected” manages to sound creepy and encouraging at the same time with a guitar sounding almost like it came from the Munsters theme and tremolo organ, and lyrics about being there for someone in an almost ghostly way. “When you’re far away, I’m beside you, put your hand out, you can hear me, reach out and touch me. Can you feel me?”
“Human Nature” is maybe the hit of the record. I’d heard it before anyway on some alternative radio station. It does have some catchy bits (that tend to a wear a bit thin after multiple listens). In a gentle voice, he sings “getting money, getting love, getting fed, getting fucked up…it’s human nature… getting trouble running round settle down getting locked up, ” sounding like the voice of Tony Bennett giving you the go ahead to live, love, party, build, make mistakes, etc.
The last song “Get Louder” is a kind of feel good song that sounds like it could have come from an alternate ending of the Blues Brothers last song.
This album is poppier than I usually like but I do like it. It’s kind of surprising that this is a first album as it sounds so well done. Nolan was already a record producer so no doubt he has some chops. Perhaps it is a cleverly devised crossover thing, or something to show off his skills, or it’s just genuinely pretty darn good.