The slash in the title of Lightning Strike/Phantom Forest, the latest EP from Kansas City singer-songwriter Aaron Hale and his Boy Detectives, suggests that it might be a split release — and in a way, it is. Except in this case, the album isn't divided between two musicians; it's one band attempting to mix three or four haunting acoustic stunners with a couple of kitschy duds. Hale succeeds brilliantly on tracks such as "The Deep" and "Frost Bite," in which his ghostly moans echo off accompanying guitars and mandolins. This may be a side effect of working with Record Machine owner Nathan Reusch, who has all but perfected the art of making earthy, eclectic recordings. (Just listen to State Bird's Mostly Ghostly.) It's when the album tries too hard at cleverness that it becomes disjointed, as on the country-tinged "Avalanche! (A Natural Disaster)" or the Decemberists-aping pirate chorus of "The Salty Sea." Roughly 50 percent of this album is well worth checking out, but make handy with the skip button.