Under Review: Holy Ghost! – Holy Ghost!

With the curtain of LCD Soundsystem recently brought to a glorious close, the search is on for the next foremost electro-dance act. It would make sense that whatever group is to follow in James Murphy’s dance steps  would come with some kind of backing from Murphy himself. Originally conceived as a rap group, Holy Ghost! used to go by Automato. They collaborated with Murphy on their one and only release under that name, and quickly became favorites of the DFA family. Changing their name and shifting their style over the course of several remixes and DJ gigs, Holy Ghost! have now emerged with a full-length record of their own. Instead of trippy hip-hop tracks, members Nicholas Millhiser and Alexander Frankel have created a set of funky, retro dance gems. Opening cut “Do It Again,” with its stuttering refrain of the title, is a blend of playful new wave keys and spoken-sung verses that indeed imply a background in rap. Other tracks on Holy Ghost! feature the now-instantly recognizable touch of DFA’s production squad. Soaring vocals pair with a chugging rhythm on “Wait And See,” and the deliciously disco “Jam For Jerry” packs the kind of charm that too few electronic acts can boast.

Part of what makes Holy Ghost! contenders for the electro-dance crown is the singularity of their songs. Unlike Shit Robot or Hercules And Love Affair, the duo’s use of collaborators doesn’t define the group as much as it compliments. In addition to like-minded ravers The Juan MacLean and The Rapture, Holy Ghost! features a vocal contribution from Michael McDonald. The former Doobie Brothers singer appears on the album’s measured closer, “Some Children.” That track not only brings the record to a conclusion, but it rounds out the exceptional turn the duo takes on the album’s second half. The exotic “Slow Motion” recalls A Certain Ratio’s late night Hacienda residencies, and the street-smart “Static On The Wire” is quintessential New York beat. Holy Ghost! are part of the collective of groups that’s likely to fill the LCD Soundsystem gap, with no one act needing to be considered any ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than another. Still, these relative newcomers show a great deal of promise on their strong and entertaining debut.

 

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~ by E. on April 8, 2011.

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