Review: Halloween Town – Zafra Ct.

Deep in the dustland of America, beyond the glitz and neon of the Las Vegas strip and all it hides, lives Halloween Town.  Halloween Town is the brainchild of Ryan Pardey, the gentle giant of the Nevada desert, and he now releases the debut album, Zafra Ct.

This album has been a long time coming, for a variety of reasons.  Started back in 2008, after years of touring the world with The Killers as their tour manager, Halloween Town offers a refreshing and honest sound in a world so full of manufactured music.  When you meet Pardey, it is clear that he is one of the nice guys.  Wordly wise beyond his years, he writes heartfelt and genuine lyrics which are painfully accurate and hit home with everyone.

During the recording of the album, Halloween Town had assistance from many musicians including Dave Keuning and Mark Stoermer (The Killers), Jason Hill, Brian Karscig and Mark Maigaard (Louis XIV) along with a lengthy list of a who’s who of the San Diego music scene.  Stoermer, who played bass and guitar on a few of the tracks on Zafra Ct., says “Ryan has some really good songs and it was nice to be able to play on them with some of my favorite people in the world.”

So, what is to be made of the debut offering?  It’s an album of bittersweet romance and wistful musings that starts with Easy Lover, an uptempo track, and continues on to If You’re Worried, a darker song which deals with the over-compromising that we often make to stay in a relationship to the point of losing grip on what’s really important.  With other sharp, observational and insightful songs such as Summer (The Dreamer from 1997) and Divorce, Zafra Ct. really delivers a unique sound and provides aural pleasure.

The entire album feels genuine and believable, unlike so many artists today who can’t even write songs or play instruments.  With so many great names lending a hand to this album, you know that it is definitely worth a listen based on that alone.  However, Zafra Ct. should not be considered based on such shallow assumptions alone – it is a refreshing, back to basics record that lets the lyrics and vocals do the talking.  No fanfare required, Halloween Town will haunt you forever with this debut offering.

Download Halloween Town – Zafra Ct. on iTunes HERE

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