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The Black Ghosts: The Black Ghosts

The Black Ghosts: The Black Ghosts

Release Date:2008

By Michaelangelo Matos | Posted 8/13/2008

A few common words have been overloading the names of recent bands. Animals, for instance, particularly wolves. And the word "black": Keys, Dice, Rebel Motorcycle Club--enough already. So who are the Black Ghosts? Not really like the others, it turns out. The new duo featuring Simon Lord of Simian and Theo Keating of the Wiseguys is hardly a rock band. And since both have made decent if hardly groundbreaking records with their other acts, you'd expect The Black Ghosts to be rock-inflected dance music. If anything, though, it's the other way around: pop songs with a homemade feel that nevertheless touch on certain sonic characteristics borrowed from electronic music.

"Repetition Kills You," the lead single, features a little joke of a title (because they've made dance music--geddit!) attached to the familiar dour honk of guest vocalist Damon Albarn of Blurillaz and a mild rock groove decorated with just enough keyboard plink to keep the electro connection. "It's Your Touch" is yacht-rock manqué, a dollar-store Steely Dan backdrop with a doubled vocal--one calm and nearly mumbling beneath an unfettered, emotive belt. "I Want Nothing" updates old synth-pop disco tricks with a floating vocal melody (sung yearningly flat), crashing-glass keyboards, and bounding bass. Much of this stuff is catchy, and Lord and Keating know how to string together a hook. But though there are bright moments on The Black Ghosts, they tend to vanish from the ear's memory when not in direct contact.

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