Ghostland Observatory keeps Austin weird On New EP

Ghostland Observatory keeps Austin weird On New EP

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Austin-based electronic duo Ghostland Observatory’s newest release, "Life of the Party" extended play, is their first in four years, and presents a reasonably strong return. In tune with its kaleidoscopic cover art, "Life of the Party" is a cauldron of varying sounds and beats that mix together in a fascinating fashion, but sometimes boils over and becomes lifeless.

The EP opens with the title track, an upbeat dance tune filled with a variety of beats from the past 30 years. It starts off with an 80’s sound, then picks up with a powerful chorus, with more and more beats added to the track as it progresses. The result is a cohesive and very danceable sound that would be comfortable at any party. Then, at 3 minutes, a modern dubstep beat interrupts the flow of the song for a moment, setting up yet another addition to the basic chorus. Though simple lyrically, “Life of the Party” accomplishes its goal of of being a dance beat very well, never becoming stale or boring.

“Nobody out in Space” keeps a relatively mellow background throughout the song, which allows Aaron Behrens’ Bowie-like vocals that almost shriek with power and emotion to shine through. It does seem like Ghostland Observatory lost an opportunity here to pick up the song and make it more upbeat like some of their other tunes, and instead opts for a meandering instrumental in the middle, which works decently.

True to its name, “Slumber 1” grooves along for four minutes of laid-back electronic exploration, a tight baseline ever-present. Charming in its use of classic synth, “Slumber 1” proceeds enjoyably with distorted vocals and sounds that keep the listener interested.

“How Does It Drive” departs from the other tracks on the EP—it opens with a Black Keys-esque low-fi guitar. Despite this strong impetus, the song gets repetitive with an uninspiring chorus, and falls flat. Rather unexpectedly however, “How Does It Drive” devolves into a club anthem 2 minutes in, sets itself up for a drop, then returns to the chorus again, which leaves the listener searching for the direction of the song. Once again, the vocals are commendable, and are reminiscent of over-the-top 80’s hair bands; the sexually charged lyrics, however, are cliché and could be better.

If Ghostland Observatory’s Austin weirdness sounds appealing, they play Druid City Music Hall on December 5th.

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