In 2020, the excellent dark synthpop band Ashbury Heights announced an intriguing new project called Ghost House Sessions. This venture is an eventual anthology that will collect “the unreleased, the rare, and the weird from our back catalogue.”
The songs from Ghost House sessions are old ideas once abandoned because they didn’t fit onto an album. In the two years since announcing the project, Ashbury Heights has put the final touches on a number of individual songs—the newest track, “Is That Your Uniform,” arrived today. So far, they’ve released six songs from Ghost House Sessions.
There’s still no word when these songs will be compiled into a full-length release. Ashbury Heights’ last proper album was 2018’s The Victorian Wallflowers, which includes the now classic songs “Headlights” and “Firebird,” among several other great tracks.
Just prior to announcing Ghost House Sessions, Ashbury Heights’ original female vocalist Yaz Uhlin rejoined the band after a more-than-10-year absence. Yaz not only contributes to the songs, she leads the visual efforts behind each track—conceptualizing the music videos and usually credited with directing, producing, cinematography, editing, and/or makeup.
Here’s a look at every song from Ashbury Heights’ Ghost House Sessions anthology so far.
“Spectres From the Black Moss”
Ashbury Heights kicked off Ghost House Sessions with a slinky, sinister song called “Spectres From the Black Moss” that has a bit of a haunted vibe. Lyrically though, it’s about struggling with mental illness—frontman Anders Hagström makes references to panic attacks and the prescription drug Atarax.
“Wild Eyes” (feat. Madil Hardis)
“Wild Eyes” is the second song from Ghost House Sessions and the first to feature a guest vocalist, which would soon become a significant component of the anthology. The song’s guest, Madil Hardis, is a German singer living in London who has a strong solo catalog and has also worked with other projects like Nature of Wires and MONDTRÄUME.
“One Trick Pony” (feat Massive Ego)
My favorite of the Ghost House Sessions songs we’ve heard is last year’s “One Trick Pony,” a superb study of the conflict between our shy, unassuming personas and the glittering artists we want to unleash—that Bowie-esque lightning bolt on the cover and in the video says it all. The delightful Marc Massive of Massive Ego provides guest vocals, which sadly became one of his last vocal performances as Massive Ego broke up a year later.
“Cutscenes” (feat. Danny Blu)
Emerging industrial pop artist Danny Blu joins Ashbury Heights for “Cutscenes,” named for the brief video clips in a video game that are intended to advance the narrative but often end up disappointing and frustrating players. The song also makes numerous references to Alice in Wonderland—caterpillars, rabbit holes, and mad hatters all appear.
“A Cut in a Place” (feat. Madil Hardis)
Singer Madil Hardis returns for Ashbury Heights’ first song of 2022, “A Cut in a Place.” The song, which began its life before the COVID-19 pandemic, was inspired by loneliness and isolation. Anders says Madil’s operatic vocals elevate this song “from a sad diary entry to full blown drama.”
“Is That Your Uniform”
The latest track from Ghost House Sessions, “Is That Your Uniform,” doesn’t feature a surprise vocalist, but it does contain more guitar than you may be used to hearing in an Ashbury Heights song, which cranks up the track’s power and aggression. The band says the songs capture the moment “when you hear the perfect tune, at the perfect time, and you get a sudden and powerful sense of purpose. A feeling of empowerment that lasts you all through the night.”