AU ABROAD

Album Review: Holy Ghost! - Dynamics (2013 LP)

Holy Ghost! have an innate ability to craft pop songs that on first listen can seem frankly unspectacular. These songs slowly creep into the subconscious and latch onto your brain, refusing to let go. Dynamics is the second album for the duo consisting of Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel and it continues this trend.

When the duo first emerged they spent a lot of time cutting their teeth on remixes for heavy hitters like MGMT, LCD Soundsystem and Moby. These lessons have rubbed off imbuing the duo with a profound instinct for pop hooks. There are plenty of them here on this album. Like the nagging cowbell on the rubbery slow burner comeback 'Dumb Disco Ideas', or the Phoenix inspired power pop chorus that anchors 'Changing of the Guard'.

As a whole Dynamics is presented as a step forward for Holy Ghost!, while not a departure from their former sound. It is a further refining of their new wave disco sound. It’s a more confident affair with Frankel backing his voice to tackle a far wider range of expressions and emotions than he was limited to on their self titled debut album. He imbues the songs with more humanist elements throughout the album, compared to the at times robotic delivery that often characterised their debut.

Frankel’s new found vocal freedom is sidled with the pairs increasing confidence in the studio. There is a unified sound the duo have worked across the album and the lyrics frequently seek to be more profound. There are times this is a triumph like 'Changing of The Weather' where Frankel battles with growing older and the heartbreak of having to grow up. There is more to connect with as a result of this approach, but this doesn’t necessarily equate to the album being more enjoyable.

The studio wizardry has created a far glossier album. With it, lost are all the rough edges that helped to make the debut so frequently thrilling. The unified sound pursued on the album leads the listener along the course of the album, but the individual songs slowly stop standing out and bleed together. It’s enjoyable enough while not overall all that engaging.

Holy Ghost! manage to create enough great moments to make this album every bit worth listening to, but they fall short of making it essential. It is a solid album that burns itself out of ideas towards the finish line, stumbling on the lofty ambitions of its creators.

Review Score: 6.6 out of 10

Dynamics is available now.