All has been quiet on the Westerberg front since last September, but lo and behold, the man has sneaked up on us again, this time with the six-song PW & the Ghost Gloves Cat Wing Joy Boys EP that dropped via Amazon today. It follows in the footsteps of his most recent releases – obviously home-studio recorded, obviously Westerberg and no one else playing anything. The lone difference here being that it’s also available on physical CD, the only one of these stealth releases to appear that way.
The EP takes it name by pulling one word from each of the six songs and all in all the songs are in keeping with his latest offerings. “Ghost on the Canvas” is a slowly shimmering ballad in the vein of “Something In My Life is Missing” from 49:00. “Drop Them Gloves” is one of the myriad sloppy-sharp Westerberg rockers that are always a treat. “Dangerous Boys” is quite possibly one of the best songs he’s released since Stereo/Mono. Lyrically it treads in Westerberg’s best territory – the fragile heart-on-sleeve tenderness that he describes so well. “You mend them back together / make them feel safe / except for that one boy / who keeps breaking like a wave,” he sings in the low-crooning whine that he’s perfected over his 30 year career.
While these releases have been well under the radar, they have been consistently good and seem to be sparking work of quantity and quality. It does make a fan long for a more polished studio record again – it’s been since 2004 – with all the solid songs being produced, but I’d rather hear these rough gems now than still be waiting for something five years later. words/ j. neas
MP3: Paul Westerberg :: Ghost On The Canvas
Amazon: Paul Westerberg – PW & the Ghost Gloves Cat Wing Joy Boys