Bungler's GHOST reflects on navigating manic depression in the midst of the pandemic - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Bungler, the project of multi-instrumentalist local artist Paul Hewes, has put out an eclectic assortment of music over the last decade. Hewes’ newest album, Ghost, builds on the acoustic-ish and delightfully off-kilter music that the Philly singer/songwriter has settled into in recent years.

Much of the time, an album is a long process, taking months to write, record, and release. Ghost, by comparison, was more of a sprint than a marathon. Hewes explains that the whole thing was written and recorded in the span of three weeks on an 8-track before getting sent out to be mixed and mastered by Kieran Ferris and Tom Kelly at Hidden Fortress Philadelphia. As he explains, the feelings behind the album were pressing, which led to the quick output of the album. “A lot of it just had to do with the immediacy of the songs, just get the sounds and feelings out.”

Hewes sheds a little more light on what exactly the album was about, explaining its meaning over email succinctly: “I would say that the album is largely about how to deal with manic depression during such tumultuous times.”

The meaning becomes fairly obvious, but no less poignant, when pointed out so plainly. Titles like “Anxiety” and “Angoraphobia” directly reference different mental states, with the lyrics digging in even more deeply.

“Anxiety” sets the whole album off with an uneasy, hectic intro, as voices of various pitches and speeds topple over each other in near-indistinguishable language. Then Hewes comes in, capturing a distinct feeling in the song. The whole album follows in a neo-60s psychedelic pop-rock sort of sound. There’s a sonic tension throughout the album that unravels itself towards the eight song before balling itself back up again, ending itself with a silent crash at the end of “Ram.”

Be sure to check out the album below and check out the rest of Bungler’s discography over on Bandcamp.

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