REVIEW: Holy Ghost! – ‘Dynamics’


Artist: Holy Ghost!
Album: Dynamics
Genre: Indie Synth-Pop
Label: DFA Records

Holy Ghost! have come a long way since their rap release on DFA Records under the name, Automato. In fact, they’ve come a long way since their self-titled release in late 2009.

The Brooklyn duo consisting of Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser are able to fill in the gaps that LCD Soundsystem and James Murphy have left since going on definite hiatus. Their newest effort, Dynamics, is certainly ambitious and even has many of those signature DFA Records qualities we are accustom to. Holy Ghost! is one of those groups that understands how to properly execute a synth-pop track. Building multiple textures and layers on top of each other all while still making the song listenable isn’t easy. However, both Frankel and Millhiser execute this perfectly and with impeccable timing. They do this so seamlessly that unless the listener is truly focusing on each detail, it’s nearly impossible to notice.

What makes Dynamics such an interesting album is the duo’s combination of elements and synthesizers that one would hear on an 80s album, but never coming across unauthentic. The production and melodies are so well executed that it becomes hard to dislike a lot about this album. Unfortunately, some of the tracks such as “I Wanna Be Your Hand” and “Bridge and Tunnel,” fall into a Toto-esque category which never seem to fully develop. These strands of songs left me to question, “what happened to the band who wrote the first 6 tracks?” On the upside, the album’s first half is so strong that after multiple listens these weak points aren’t too difficult to overlook.

When taking a step back, Dynamics is a well thought out album with incredible production value. It’s a huge step in the positive direction for Holy Ghost! as a band, and leaves me wanting more. Part of this could be due to the nostalgic LCD Soundsystem feel, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt the same way after the band’s 2009 release. If any artist can evoke this emotion in a human-being, it’s impossible to doubt their craft.

With nothing but positive things to say, it may be confusing looking at the score I gave Dynamics. Nevertheless, at the end of the day what any album comes down to is sustainability. Whether it’s the lyrical content or instrumental melodies, it’s hard to say. In spite of this, if you enjoy indie synth pop with great hooks and danceability, this is an album that one should certainly pick up. It’s incredibly difficult to create a work of art which the masses can see eye-to-eye on, so I can’t discredit the duo’s efforts. The band is on the brink of something remarkable and when that time comes, you’ll be remembering this album review.

Score: 7.8/10

Standout Tracks: “Dumb Disco Ideas,” “Changing of the Guard,” “Okay,” and “It Must Be The Weather”

Review written by: Mike Sacchetti — Follow him on Twitter

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