While the Black Ghosts may not be as well known as many other artists out there, it is safe to say you have at least heard of one of their songs if you have gone to see the movie Twilight. It is not a surprise that they would have been chosen for such a movie since their music does seem to border the lines of dark and giddy at the same time while being occasionally perverse. I have to admit, at times, they remind me of Pulp, and that is definitely a good thing in my book, yet The Dark Ghosts' lyrics are deeper and more sophisticated while maintaining a balance between dance, pop, and some indie punk. While some may feel that all those elements in play together may clash, there is a certain electro sensibility that keeps things cohesive and working very well with the somewhat despaired lyrics. This is definitely on display on their self-titled debut The Black Ghosts.
The Black Ghosts Play A Little Bit Of Everything
It is safe to say that The Black Ghosts are definitely an eclectic listen and will not appeal to everyone and that is evident on the very first track. "Some Way Through This" is a bleak rock track that doesn't seem to fit as well in midst of the other brilliant tracks on the album. Somehow, though, it worked for me to a degree with its deep pounding bass lines and whiny vocals that seem to scream with urgency yet chills the bones with its dark beats and despondent tone. The real talent though shines through on such tracks like "Anyway You Choose To Give It" with its vibrating keys and skittering hi-hats while the disdain in the vocals echoes throughout the song. We see a more mellow and nostalgic turn with "It's Your Touch" with its slow lounge jazz sound that contains a hint of disco fever that is spiced with such gleeful and loving lyrics and works so well on this album, even though it is sandwiched between two completely different songs. "Repetition Kills You" follows the same vein as the second track in its gleeful disdain of subject matter yet you are powerless to resist its bouncy energetic vibe and somewhat happy dance anthem sound.
A Few Kinks in the Black Ghosts
Unfortunately though, we do see a track or two that don't seem to work and that get bogged down in the complex nature of the various sounds of the album. "Until It Comes Again" is bland in its approach and seems to lack the original sound or complexity of the previous tracks and feels repetitious at times. Fortunately, though, "I Want Nothing " erases the memory of the previous track with its heavier dance sound that is mixed with more emo lyrics that borders gothic at times. It is that complex nature of contrasting sounds that they seem to revel and excel in and that is evident in the following track "Full Moon." Contrary to the more dance-like sound of the previous track, "Full Moon" comes across as more folk inspired electronica with its plaintive lyrics and acoustic guitars and is the track that most fans of Twilight will remember. The sound is amped up though on "I Don't Know" with its playful riffs and techno happy beats that veer more toward straight dance music sound while "Something New" is more of a fusion of soft rock and synth pop that really never elevates itself past the usual filler fluff.
The mournful cellos on "Don't Cry,"
though, work very well and showcase a certain vulnerability that add
to the texture of the album as a whole even though the cowbell could
have been used far less. It is here that you realize how broad of a
range the Black Ghosts have encompassed and their innate ability to
weave a textured sound through the album. It is only appropriate
though that the album end with a more dance-friendly track like "Face"
which evokes a certain Depeche Mode vibe while maintaining its own
unique signature sound with its rich dark lyrics and bouncy synths.
It is safe to say that The Black Ghosts will not appeal to everyone
with its more cerebral take on electronica and electro pop but it
definitely put its spell on me. The Black Ghost album is a truly
inspired piece of work and even though it does have its moments of
weakness, as a whole the album works so wonderfully well with its
brilliant lyrics and interwoven sounds and complex beats. They have
managed to create music that could only be defined as organized chaos
and somehow made it dark and yet danceable at the same time. I don 't
know many artists with that capability and it truly shines on this
album. I would definitely suggest this album to anyone who is looking
for a unique musical experience and looking for something innovative
and amazing listen. I will definitely keep this album on my play list
for quite some time and I hope you do too.
Released July 8, 2008 on iamsound Recordings