CD Review: The Black Ghosts

The Black Ghosts | The Black Ghosts | IAMSOUND
By Dennis Romero
LA Weekly, Sept. 18, 2008

The self-titled debut from London band the Black Ghosts via L.A. label IAMSOUND takes its place on nu-electro’s top shelf alongside such breakout acts as Justice, Simian Mobile Disco and Digitalism. This 11-track one-night stand of an album (done so soon?) features ’80s synths, thrashing, live-like drums and the wistful, yearning voice of Simon Lord (of Justice’s “We Are Your Friends” fame). The songwriting, performance and sentiments here (the dramatic, string-fed “Some Way Through This,” the regretful “Don’t Cry”) are heartfelt, giving birth to an emo-tronic sound.

Even when the Ghosts get off the pillow, the moods (the catchy “Something New,” the momentous “I Want Nothing”) are bittersweet, buoyed only by a disco-punk groove and a chorus so syrupy it would make Chris Martin blush. Theo Keating, formerly of British big-beat duo the Wiseguys (“Start the Commotion”), helps the Ghosts maintain polish, rhythm and bass, which are never far from the dance floor. The penny-loafer stomp of “Face” belongs on an LCD Soundsystem album. The Damon Albarn–sung single “Repetition Kills You” rolls on bouncing rock & roll bass lines and vintage video-game melodies. The Black Ghosts is one of the best albums of the nu-electro era, even if it gives a little TMI to the audience of point-and-click cool kids.


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