Holy Ghost! – Dynamics (2013)
Pic via facebook.com/HolyGhostNYC
If 80s nostalgia is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right. My deepest wish is that it never goes out of fashion. And if it does, at least there’s always Holy Ghost! – one of my favourite 80s revivalists whose name I get to shout.
My first contact with the Brooklyn duo Holy Ghost! aka Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel came in 2009 with the release of “I Will Come Back”, or mainly, its amazingly cool video. I was hooked. Static on the Wire EP followed in 2010 along with my growing addiction.
Dynamics, released in September 2013 through DFA Records, is a follow-up to the duo’s self-titled debut in 2011. Last May saw the release of “Dumb Disco Ideas” – the first single off Dynamics – where the guys effectively channel James Murphy. Since LCD Soundsystem has never been my personal bag of chips, the single didn’t quite hit me. It seemed more of a copycat move than authentic Holy Ghost!. Along came Dynamics, and I gave it a chance.
Dynamics kicks off with a slick keyboard jam “Okay” that sets the mood for things to come. The 8-minute-long “Dumb Disco Ideas” follows. Here comes the confession: despite my initial disappointment, the track has grown on me! As part of the album, it works. That goes to show you really can’t go wrong with more cowbell.
After a few upbeat tracks, “It Must Be the Weather” takes the tempo down a notch, but make no mistake; it’s a banger and a half! In fact, if there’s one song on Dynamics I would listen to over and over again until I go deaf, mute and blind, it would be this one. Any song that emulates ”Phil Collins drums” gets my full support (yes, ”In the Air Tonight” vibes are there at 2:10–2:20!).
“I Wanna Be Your Hand” is a dreamy balearic tune <insert ”Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac as an obvious reference here>. Interestingly, “I Wanna Be Your Hand” and the other slower ear pleaser “It Must Be the Weather” are the clear standouts on the album.
“Bridge and Tunnel” is where the duo goes back to New York City lyrically while musically nodding towards the always genius Italo Disco era. If you don’t like Italo, there’s a major gap between you and me, spiritually.
Unfortunately, there’s room for fillers too. “Dance a Little Closer”, “Don’t Look Down” and “In The Red” don’t manage to get much of an emotional response out of me.
Dynamics closes with “Cheap Shots” where the guys do their best New Order imitation. The track certainly has its moments, but the chorus doesn’t quite hit the G-spot. Still, the track will get you dancing.
As a whole, Dynamics is a competent piece of work. It’s fun without being vapid. And that’s always in fashion.