As denizens of the 21st century, we can easily look back at the 80s with a smirk and write off all those bouncy synths as “outdated”, “clichéd”, and frankly “dull”. And we’re probably right, in many cases. But what do we 20-somethings know? What sounds passé to us now once touched hearts, enticed lovers to kiss, and brought solace to wearied stiffs across the nation. We can’t write off such powers too easily. As for the clichés – the steady air drums, the pitch-perfect vocalists, the lush production – remember that even artists of our decade like CHVRCHES, EMPIRE OF THE SUN or MGMT revive those elements very successfully. While the 80’s might be some thirty years back – at those times where many of us still played in the sandpit – the sound of that era is still fresh and far from dead.
Such is what Brooklyn-based disco-duo HOLY GHOST!‘s sophomore album Dynamics remind us. If you mourn the absence of LCD Soundsystem this longplayer might console over this loss or at least fill the void in your heart for a little while. It picks up the slack of the 80’s synth-pop, brings new elements to it and deals with this sort of uncool and embarrassing music of the past by miming it with a good sense of humour.
HOLY GHOST! know how to groove, and this pretty much forms the essence of the record. Under the icy glazes of Don’t Look Down lies an aloof funk carried by the dexterous bass. Elsewhere, rhythm becomes a weapon on the buoyant but seething Dumb Disco Ideas which groans with deep analogs and oozes with confident bitterness in the long and catchy closing chorus. At times the album leaves you with the impression of 11 highly New Order inspired tracks, that are very easy to listen to as a whole and where every track certainly is a goldmine of shiny synth-pop masterpieces, although, the expected crossover hit never comes. Every track is sonically beautifully but, unfortunately, leaves little to hold close.
For a record to be so free of baggage Dynamics is truly HOLY GHOST!‘s greatest achievement. Their talent has such a humble quality, that it stretches from end to end of the longplayer and therefore everyone who listens to it should take comfort in the fact that they are in the safest of hands. HOLY GHOST! are far from being perfect, but they don’t need to be perfect, they just needs to have a general idea of what they want to do and roll with it. This is exactly what Dynamics aims for, and though it’s not perfect, let’s face it, being perfect is no fun anyway.