REVIEW: ‘Two Passing Ships’ is the poetic debut from Spirit Houses

spirit houses Ireland

Acoustic bliss and melody intertwine on an EP which is expansive lyrically. I Am The Avalanche guitarist Mike Ireland leads this project, Spirit Houses,  and doesn’t fear away from letting his mind spill. He knots together words describing pain, pessimism that sticks like a shadow. And over the course of Two Passing Ships, the new EP, we’re introduced to many situations and characters, people who have come and went, people who have fallen into these unforgettable songs.

Mike Ireland is a talented musician spearheading his own project with majestic urgency, blasting through the cobwebs and trying to rally his own demons to the slaughter. This is hard to do so as those unwanted voices and demons are ingrained, deeply tapping and grinding their teeth along the core. We do get a clear indication of Ireland’s sorrow throughout the songs he has produced for Two Passing Ships, they’re all drenched in melancholy and offer up vivid snapshots which stir emotion.

There is a lack of peace, also. Ireland constantly rattles with Spirit Houses, he seeks downtime, he wants to sit and watch the stars, but in his stomach are knots. In his own statement, he has told the world that he had to create this record of truth, in his own words ‘He Was F****d’. And music has aided him in his pursuit of a happy place, where despair looms but can be dismissed by a strong mind.

As the music plays on, his voice triggers, and Two Passing Ships becomes a melodic heart-puller fundamentally searing but also offering a connection. Many people will deliver their verdict on 5 songs, they’ll salute the balance between hope and chaos the EP has conjured up. It is supreme song-writing, there are moments of clarity pushing through a fuzzy casing, and as a whole the record is a stand-out.

First off, we’re given a song of abandonment. Ireland sings about moving homes on “Nightmares Every Night” and the pit of his stomach is rotting. He tells a story. Having nightmares every night, trying to block off a thick darkness. The acoustic backdrop offers a musical tinge, and the vocals are sorrow ridden. The drum beat isn’t ferocious, it aids the song into the limelight. “We All Die Alone” surrounds death and Ireland bellows in a chorus fueled on intent. He describes the battles of dying alone, the overwhelming courage of losing life inside a bare-thin apartment. “Sweetheart I’m Jealous” is a sad swan-song of fear. It develops on into a true standout track, and Ireland sings loudly, gracing the world with his musings, but emptiness is still a challenge.

Spirit Houses is a project made to evoke. It is a poetic release, giving us an insight into a turbulent mind and life. Two Passing Ships is out now.