Ghost Orchard’s ‘bunny’ is an absurd, fragmented account of falling in love that pays little attention to chronology. A rainbow-like assortment of electronic-come-rnb gems, ‘bunny’ percolates quietly before assaulting your senses entirely, just as much as dopamine overtook its creator, Sam Hall, at the tender age of 18. So amazed was he at the intensity of his love – one him and his partner still share three years on – he meticulously recorded voice notes, moving-in day, anniversaries and the more banal everyday saved to his smartphone.
This record is the distillation of the almost 300 songs that resulted, just 14 make the final cut. And most striking is the sheer intimacy of it all, the album an open door into a space often kept private. The landmarks of their relationship are plotted out – the grocery store, the station, the phones that connect them when apart – all essential parts of the environment ensconced in ‘bunny’. The intimacy is increased even further when Hall’s partner sings, as on the organ-led ‘Guess’.
It may sound like a bed of roses, all loveheart emojis and cuddles on the sofa. And lyrically it is – “Something comes alive inside my heart / I don’t ever want to be apart” – he sings in his distorted vocal on ‘First Time’, yet musically it’s more evocative of a scatterbrain, post-it notes stuck to a wall sporadically and randomly. In one moment you’re indulged with trap in the chorus of ‘Balloon’, the next covered in a blanket of lo-fi acoustic guitar on the title track. It’s a mind-blowing vortex, items in the atmosphere blowing at you from every direction; a bewitching hypnosis inflicted on everyone who tunnels through.
The amazon is literally burning as I write, and yes, we need to raise the pressure on those in power. We’re also human though and this is all really, really scary. We need places to escape now and then, places to idle. ‘bunny’ is as good as any, the glowing light of naivety and elation inherent to romantic love a much-needed tonic for these terrifying times.