Black Happy Day describes their music on In The Garden Of Ghostflowers as “ambient roots music”. As with all ambient music, Black Happy Day’s amorphous, drifting sound often leaves the listener with very little point of reference. But unlike the typical ambient approach, which leaves the listener within a somewhat blissful place, Black Happy Day leaves the listener smack dab in the middle of a foreboding, constantly shifting environment.
The duo’s vocals are layered and shifted slightly out of phase with normality thanks to generous portions of reverb and echo. Adding to the harrowing, dreamlike tone are exotic drones, amorphous metallic tones, and shuddering walls of dripping sound that ooze, reverberate, and shimmer within and throughout the duo’s sculpted vocals.
Such an approach can be intriguing and even enthralling at times, but it can also become tedious. In The Garden Of Ghostflowers has a very solemn, plodding air about it, which is only enhanced by the often portentous lyrics sung, chanted, and intoned by Vanflower and Renner.
Not surprisingly, In The Garden Of Ghostflowers‘s strongest moments come when the album is at its most roots-y. Here, the band’s sound warms up slightly and strands of more traditional instrumentation (guitar, banjo, dulcimer, harmonium) drift within hearing range, offering something a little more solid and substantial to lean on.