The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world





FEBRUARY 24 2015



Butch Walker has always been a guilty pleasure of The Rockpit’s, and not just because of his previous incarnation as an 80’s Hard Rocker. ‘Afraid of Ghosts’ starts off with the gentle goosebump-raising title track dealing with the loss of his father and proceeds to wring out the emotion beautifully captured within each song.  This is serious stuff, the songs feel like they were willed into life through no little pain, rather than just conceived easily. It’s remarkable that again Walker can lay out such personal feelings so bare, but here we are with ten tracks charting by and large heartache and pain to contrast starkly with his most recent output with his band The Black Widows and their latest slabs of debauched rock and roll.

If you love the introspective side of Walker from albums such as ‘Letters’ then ‘Afraid of Ghosts’ will be familiar, if not an even more personal a journey.  The landscape here is very much Country/Folk/Americana which seems to perfectly fit the downcast and yet at times inspiring lyrical content and mood.  Add to that the lyrical wanderings through the night time neon world of endless highways, roadhouses and small towns and you get a dark yet beautifully realised series of vignettes on modern America and life in general.

There’s plenty to love here and sink your teeth into, whether it’s the melancholic opener or the haunting keys of closer ‘The Dark’. Or the lead single the ballad ‘Chrissie Hynde’ which tells the tale of a guy about to be jailed listening to Pretenders records. Maybe it’s ‘I Love You’ which will tip you over the edge – the most upcast song here or the dirge ‘Autumn Leaves’ about his father’s cancer. Or ’21 Plus’: the tale of being trapped in a small town behind a bar whilst others talk about their dreams (guitar solo courtesy of Johnny Depp).

The best song here for us is the deeply personal ‘Father’s Day’ with a lyric that will break your heart, in truth it’s probably one of the best songs Walker has given us so far, it’s a powerful song and one on which both producer Ryan Adams and Bob Mould add guitar to, and in Mould’s case backing vocals also. You simply have to hear it.


Walker has cast aside his past here, lost the big choruses and made an album to resonate with your soul.



by Mark Rockpit