[3 March 2008]
PopMatters Contributing Editor
Every once in a while, a band comes along that—no matter how much you may feel the urge to—you just can’t hate. They get under your skin like a tick and start laying eggs that ain’t coming out any time soon. Texas’ Ghostland Observatory is not the most talented or insightful act you’ll ever listen to, but damned if you can stop once you pop your cherry. Between front man Aaron Behrens’ James Brown meets Freddie Mercury rock and soul gyrations and caped drummer/programmer Thomas Turner’s raunchy haunted house cartoon synth creations, their undeniably unique brand of electro-rock is as catchy as hepatitis at a Caribbean resort.
Their third self-released album, Robotique Majestique sees Turner finally accepting his status as mad tweaking genius. He’s the only man alive this side of John B who can make all those cheesy electro sounds act as lively and fresh today as they were in the ‘80s. Behrens’ womanizing lyrics and sonic vocals haven’t yet changed course, and nobody wants them to. At this point, if he were to start spouting politics or psychedelic poetry instead of his odes to and warnings of the female race, it would throw the whole balance of their sound spiraling off into space madness. However, considering how DIY they are, it’s suiting that “HFM” lets some raucous punk influence shine through their usually firm plastic façade. That combined with the nasty bassline to “No Place For Me” makes this their most enjoyable album yet. Don’t expect a change in direction any time soon and you’ll be there with me.