by Jamie Reysen
“Do it Again,” the opening track on Holy Ghost!’s debut LP, kicks off with a steady drum beat and a restrained synth line that builds, but doesn’t break into the bass-heavy abyss of today’s electro scene. In come Alex Frankel’s smooth vocals, calling you back to the ‘80s.
Like leggings and fingerless gloves, that new wave sound is making a comeback—at least if Holy Ghost! has anything to say about it. Their self-titled album is a string of Italo-disco-inspired, vocal-heavy tracks that make me want to wrap a scrunchie around my ponytail, throw on an oversized shirt, and head out the door in search of a disco.
Admittedly, I’m not of the ‘80s generation, but Holy Ghost! Makes me feel like I missed out. Duo Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel have created an album that should be listened to from start-to-finish in the way that records once were--don’t distractedly shuffle through it on your iPod. It is thoughtful, meticulously arranged, and complete.
The album is a combination of spacey electro, clean drumbeats, and bass riffs that have—for lack of a better word—swag. Holy Ghost! brought on notables like Michael McDonald and The Rapture as guest vocalists on a few tracks, but Alex Frankel’s voice is the one with catchy staying power.
He croons relatable lyrics in “It’s Not Over,” accompanied mostly by a clean, consistent drum and bass combination, joined at just the right moments by quivering synth.
“Jam for Jerry” is another memorable cut. The disco homage to drummer Jerry Fuchs feels sad and serious, but its upbeat rhythm makes it paradoxically danceable.
“Static on the Wires,” an encore from their 2010 EP, still rocks; its funky bass rhythm, classic keyboard arrangement, memorable guitar riffs, and catchy chorus make for a near-perfect song.
Interestingly enough, the duo included their breakthrough 2007 song, “Hold On,” on the album, a track that makes me feel nostalgic for the past and a bit wistful, especially four years later.
James Murphy, co-founder of DFA Records and front man of LCD Soundsystem, remixed and released the duo’s track four years ago, and he has stuck with them since. What with LCD Soundsystem’s recent retirement, many have voiced disappointment in Holy Ghost! as an inadequate replacement. But their retirement announcement doesn’t read: “We’ve commissioned Holy Ghost! to take our place.”
Listen to the 10 years worth of LCD Soundsystem tracks when you’re missing them, but don’t rule out Holy Ghost! They’ve done great things with their first-full length album, and the time is now for them to step out of the DFA shadows and make their case for a return to Reaganomics, hair spray, and a little New Order.
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