Austin, Texas-based duo Ghostland Observatory have blended so many different artists and so many different genres into their electro glam rock that mentioning all, if any, seems redundant. If you mix a hundred different things into a smoothie, would a single ingredient be noticeable or even important during the final blend?
And of course, every smoothie straw full is certainly different. Listening to Ghostland Observatory just happens to be like that odd sip that makes you second guess your decision to make such a concoction. You’re at a standstill. Do the sips before that fateful last gulp warrant one more try or did it forever scar your taste buds and to indulge your curiosity would be to play a game of Russian roulette?
Certainly G.O. makes better music that is less dividing to music listeners, but the duo’s third album Robotique Majestique surprisingly feels alienating, split into a love it or hate it attitude.
It’s hard to pinpoint why this is so given that the pair Aaron Behrens (vocals, guitar) and Thomas Ross Turner (drums, synthesizer) sounded so enthused and creative on their previous two albums delete.delete.i.eat.meat and Paparazzi Lightning.
With any type of electronic music, the music should almost always come center stage, which is partly so on the duo’s latest release. They even devote the opening and closing tracks (“Opening Credits” and “Club Soda,” respectively) to being lyric-free. The problem is that many of the other tracks have the music relegated to simply being background fill while Behrens’ vocals get the attention. You could barely hear any of the accompanying synths on the anthem-like “Heavy Heart” and you can understand Behren’s evangelism in “Dancing On My Grave” loud and clear.
Robotique Majestique seems short at ten tracks, but its 39-minutes feel long and meandering. It’s too bad that the title track and Michael Jackson-inspired “Freeheart Lover” seemed to be the only remnants of the duo’s past and almost distant sound, and it’s even worse that the closing track ends as the album should have began.