Reviews:: Ghostland Observatory Robotique Majestique

To be completely honest, Ghostland Observatory always struck me as some blog hyped band that I'd have no interest in, so I never paid them any mind. That changed last year when I was at Sasquatch and saw them tear up the Yeti stage (or Wookie.. the medium one). I only decided to check them out because they had no competition on the other stages, but was super impressed.

The end result was this - "The most surprising set of the weekend – easily – Ghostland Observatory. They tore it up. The crowd didn't stop dancing for the full 45 minutes and screamed for more. They were one of the only bands on the smaller stages to get an encore and when they broke into Silver City, the crowd essentially grooved in unison. They played two new songs – one called Heavy Heart – and songs like Piano Man were unreal. Seriously. These guys were more fun than 90% of the acts I saw all weekend."

I'm not much of an electro guy, especially since my ideal pace never exceeds a slow meander, but their live show captivated me. I enjoyed a few of the singles from the previous releases, but the new record - Robotique Majestique - is much more controlled and plateau-ed in comparison, and that makes for a more even listen. Granted, I don't like to get up and shake my money maker in the club, but this record moves at the perfect pace to keep you functioning at work. While that might be the worst compliment the band will receive, I think the record lets you drift into semi-consciousness, force the enjoyable beats to the background and overlook some of the stagnant traces that appear when the duo tries to force the unbridled energy of a live set onto a piece of plastic.

The record really blends styles and Turner has crafted some nice head nodders. The glam of the 70's, the polished synths of the 80's and some of the required modern grime are mixed nicely, and you hear G.O. trying new things. They still hit on some of the terrific grooves that you've come to expect - like Club Soda and Holy Ghost White Noise - but Brehens' vocals are drifting more into the Freddie Mercury realm and Turner is really getting more adventurous with his work. The nice, simplistic layering of Heavy Heart grabs you early but they manage to not climax too early and manage the tempo of th erecord well.

The record has a better sense of direction and the dark undertones of the record really make it more cohesive but for some reason I'm still left wanting more from this record and No Place For Me is a perfect example. The grit of the track is there, and when Aaron gives an emphatic UHHHHH (not like Master P) you can picture the crowd freaking out and the song taking on a new life. But that's just it. the You can't see Turner's huge cape or Behrens' confident strut when you listen to a record and you can't feed off the energy of the crowd.

Would I want to play this record at home very often? No, but would I pay money to see them play the songs live? Well to be honest, I'm an old codger so probably not, but I can totally see why hundreds of people do. While some might scoff at the idea of being a band that is better known for a live show, in today's music culture, bands really only make money when they get people to the shows and sell records and shirts. With the energy this duo delivers whenever they hit the stage, I can't see how people would walk away and not be interested in picking up Robotique Majestique if even as a keepsake.
[MP3]:: Heavy Heart

The linked song's title is very fitting for my mood today. In sad news, legendary Steelers announcer Myron Cope passed away yesterday. He was 79, but his legacy will live on forever. He started the terrible towel and truly was the voice of the Steelers. Yoi! It wasn't uncommon to go to someone's house and find the game on, sound off with the radio cranked for Myron's play by play commentary.

So to you Myron, a zig and a zag. R.I.P.
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