Review : Holy Ghost! - Holy Ghost!
PitchforkAs much as the standard model has shifted from the full-length album to the individual track, there's still a lot of baggage to the phrase "singles band." A group with a couple of great songs and a few unremarkable ones might've gotten more of a pass for hiding the mediocrities on B-sides back when "sides" were the only game in town, but the nature of an album still has a certain weight to the idea of consistent front-to-back listening that doesn't forgive hitches so easily. Still, even though Holy Ghost! have followed up a string of singles and an EP (2010's Static on the Wire) with an album where the big stumbling blocks are redundancy and an overextension of a few good ideas, it's surprisingly easy to toss those concerns aside and just go for the choice stuff piecemeal-style.
Holy Ghost! do have a good amount of choice stuff, actually, at least if you've warmed to the idea of a band that does for 1980s electro-pop and some of the era's more forward-thinking AOR what the Juan MacLean did for deep house. But it depends on how much you take in at once. That's another paradox of a singles band-- put a bit of chronological distance between a few soundalike tracks, and the water-treading doesn't seem so bad. On an album, it's easy to notice that, say, the lyrical conceit of "Hold On"'s hook is recycled for the bridge on "Say My Name" ("Hold on, hold on, hold on/ Even though you know you shouldn't"). But with a few years separating those tracks' original releases, the original impressions hinged more on a stylistic progression from the former's chirpy yet suave electro-pop to the latter's frosty, anxious, and immaculately mannered minimal new wave. That's why it's a bit harder to parse the tracks that make their debut on the album....full text
ConsequenceofsoundDFA Records – home to electronic outfits like LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip (in the U.S.), and Hercules and Love Affair – has gradually earned a reputation as one of the prominent labels in new wave/nu-disco since its inauguration in 2001. Fronted by electro punk protege James Murphy and British producer/DJ Tim Goldsworthy, DFA (an acronym for Death From Above) has also had serious involvement in the Italo Disco revival that has emerged over the last few years.
In ’07, Murphy fronted fellow New York enthusiasts of synthesizers and spacey dance beats, childhood friends Nick Milhiser and Alex Frankel, who seemed to divulge all of these post-’80s compulsions with a single titled “Hold On”. As one that resonates a squeaky clean complexion, resembling European dance in the ’80s more than Chromeo’s recent Business Casual, the duo seemed to be a perfect fit with the label’s aesthetic. They would go on under the moniker Holy Ghost! (your love is like the Holy Ghost!) and with the help of DFA, attract a devout following of disco supporters and electro fanatics by remixing the likes of Friendly Fires, MGMT, Cut Copy, Phoenix, and labelmates LCD Soundsystem.
In the three years since “Hold On” was put out, Holy Ghost! has toured all across the globe, played several festivals, released a song for Mountain Dew’s emerging Green Label Sound, and dropped their Static On The Wire EP. With the release of their first proper self-titled full length, they contribute to growing post-disco fads with tracks that are chock full of soulful harmonies, backed with an unrestrained supply of drum machines, vintage keyboards, and bubbling synthesizers. Like everything else these days, Holy Ghost! is indubitably intended to yield a sense of wistfulness for anyone who grew up during the ’80s, and it does....full text
PastemagazineAhh, DJs, how truly little we know thee. You’ve been making the dance floor a funkier place for decades, but your recorded output has been mainly relegated to indie rock bonus discs and bloated B-sides of bands trying to sound “more electronic.” I ask, “Who art thou, really?”
Holy Ghost! are finally liberating themselves from the trappings of DJdom. For the last several years, these guys (New Yorkers Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser) have been making quite a splash as record spinners, producers, and (most famously) remix artists, re-tooling tracks by the likes of MGMT, LCD Soundsystem, Cut Copy, Moby and Phoenix: basically a bunch of bands whose songs pretty much already sound like remixes in the first place. But when it comes to creating their own original work, the drip’s been pretty dismal — a single here, an EP here (2010’s widely praised Static on the Wire) but nothing that would necessarily suggest that these dance devotees were ready to completely step out of the shadows.
With Holy Ghost!, their full-length debut, they’re carrying on in the tradition of many other artists who’ve gotten their start through scattered single releases, basically putting together a mixture of stuff that’s already out there and stuff they’ve done since. It’s a nice strategy for a debut — experimenting on one-off tracks and then figuring out what works best before making the plunge into The Album Format....full text
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