Electropop duo Holy Ghost! have been busy boys lately. Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel, best known for their work remixing tunes by Moby, MGMT and Cut Copy and their 2010 EP Static on the Wire, have finally released a full-length, self-titled album after four years in the business.
Holy Ghost! starts off strong and characterizes the album well from the get-go; “Do It Again” is reminiscent of Michael Jackson-style ’80s pop with a dash of disco (though the band would claim that should be the other way around) and a 21st-century synthesizer twist. It’s toe-tapping good fun, and clearly has drawn on a great variety of genres to inform it.
One might think this would result in an album that’s all over the place, energetic, and forward-thinking; well, one out of three ain’t bad. (Actually, it is.) There’s an eclectic mix of influences at play here, but nothing after “Do It Again” (the album’s first track) is remarkably energetic or original. The mark of a good electronica record today is found in its complexity; anyone can synthesize spaceship noises and grand pianos and distorted voices, so the trick is to demonstrate a capacity for complex instrumentation and imaginative melodic concepts.
With the exception of “Do It Again” and “It’s Not Over”–a track that is, honestly, tremendously funky, but also benefits from some of the best lyrics on the album (“Please remind, remind me/Tapes get older, tastes they get slower/Hold me closer, it’s not over”)–almost everything Holy Ghost! has produced here tastes bland to me. Holy Ghost! is like a big bowl of plain Rice Krispies: sure, it may be poppy and sweet to begin with, but it gets soggy and uninteresting mighty fast.