Ghostland Observatory – “Codename: Rondo”

Album Reviews | Nov 22nd, 2011

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Record Label: S/R
Genre: Electronica / New Wave
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Tapping into LCD Soundsystem’s bouncy, funky dance party, but with the spare proto-electronic simplicity of Devo and Kraftwerk (and even early rap artists like Kurtis Blow), Ghostland Observatory have put together a fun album of minimalist electro booty shakers.

Shirking modern pop’s over-embellishments, these tunes just have a drum track, a vocal track, and one or two layers of synth. They’re very catchy though – proving that all you really need is a simple melody and a beat you can dance to.

The vocals’ wide range took a couple of listens to get used to. There are nods to the quirky nerdiness of Devo (“That’s Right”), the operatic glamminess of Sparks (“Glitter,” “Miracles”), and the listless, repetitive spoken word of Kraftwerk (“Time”). Their attempts at soulful funk, such as on “Give Me The Beat” and “Mama,” are actually pretty good, with the latter evoking a cross between James Murphy and Freddie Mercury.

For such simplistic music technically, this is a surprisingly eclectic album, and I could see how the vocals could be off-putting to some. I recommend this album to dance-punk fans with some trepidation; it greatly helps to be an appreciator of the 70s & 80s proto-synth sound as well.

Bottom Line: Nice throwback to early electro with eclectic vocals.
Notable Tracks: Give Me The Beat, Time, Mama
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