I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost
New Wave revivalists and electro-bandits alike are more or less compelled to emulate the path of Devo these days – the Polysics seem quite pleased. Bands like Ghostland Observatory combine the same attitude of geeky oscillations and post-modern sensibilities in something that’s just darn fun to liseten to. The duo’s Codename Rondo is an all out jam session in retro necessities.
The album opens with “Glitter,” a more than appropriate title for this dance-happy collection of pulsing bass, laser-like synths, and tremolo-laced vocals. Aaron Kyle Behren’s mix of Fred Schneider and a young Danny Elfman forces you to wear legwarmers and skinny ties for the duration of the album. “That’s Right” switches gears as a late 80s/early90s power-pop complete with quirky synths, power chords and a deathly vocoder.
The sing-speak style of runway anthems and club kid excess seems evident in “Miracles” and the title track. If you close your eyes, you can almost smell the blood-stained antics of Michael Alig and James St. James of Club Kid fame – sans bodypaint, of course.
“Give Me the Beat” harkens back to Ghostland Observatory’s funky, bass-heavy origins a la Jamiroquai. One should expect this to be the more “modern” sounding track on the album. The second to last track, “Mama,” should have been the logical last track of the album. An obvious nod to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and the trippy, bell-laced portions of The Darks Side of the Moon.
The album’s last track, “Kick Clap Speaker,” does do a fine job at summarizing the album’s theme of fun pop on the fly. Codename Rondo may not have necessarily been a lighthearted attempt at dancefloor irony, but sometimes it’s fun to just let your hair down, throw on some wingtips and get down.