Ghostland Observatory, Codename: Rondo

Ghostland Observatory, Codename: Rondo

In September, Ghostland Observatory successfully piqued the interest of fans with the free release of the spoken-word track, “Codename: Rondo,” for their new album. With keyboard player Thomas Turner’s dark and funky beats backing a strange and sexual-innuendo-filled monologue by singer Aaron Behrens, many listeners were amused and curious enough to grab up the album, by the same name, as it drops today. It is my sad duty, then, to discourage you from following them to the record store for a disappointing 4th album from the lively duo.

If you’ve heard “Piano Man” or “Move With Your Lover,” (or really any song from Paparazzi Lightning) then you know that Behrens is capable of some pulse-quickening falsetto yelping. Why, then, is that replaced with monotone computer voices on Codename: Rondo? Likewise, where are the catchy-as-hell synth riffs? Though most pop groups would be tremendously helped by simplifying their sound, Ghostland loses most of their appeal when they lose the details.

“Mama,” their slowly plodding, ’80s-ish nostalgic tune, sounds like a strained attempt at a nod to Ziggy Stardust. Robot-voiced “Kick Clap Speaker” is not only annoyingly repetitive, but also devoid of any redeeming catchiness. While it has some of the otherwise absent dancability, “Glitter” is still too stripped-down to be very interesting. Though it’s occasionally amusing and on the rare occasion clever, the whole album just comes across as a puddle of low frequencies and cheap drum beats.

So, I know it’s just wrong to ask a band to repeat a previous album, but really guys, can’t you just make Paparazzi Lightning again? I’d venture to say that that will be the question on most peoples’ minds as they listen to Codename: Rondo.

This is not to be taken as a comment on their live shows, mind you, which — if the videos are to be believed — still rock. While the songs on the record aren’t terribly engaging, the band themselves always will be. Let’s just hope that when they play Warehouse Live this Friday, they throw a few of their older songs into the mix.

[Ghostland Observatory is playing 10/29/10 at Warehouse Live, along with DJ Ceeplus Badknives and PRKL8R.]
(Trashy Moped Recordings -- P.O. Box 1919 Austin, TX. 78765-4919;; Ghostland Observatory --
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Review by . Review posted Tuesday, October 26th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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One Response to “Ghostland Observatory, Codename: Rondo

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: listenlisten (Rev’d!) + Callers (MP3!) + Helmet + Somosuno + Invincible Czars + Ghostland Observatory (Rev’d!) + More on January 1st, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    […] SCR contributor Robin B. had to say about the band’s latest, Codename: Rondo, right over here. It’s second best, obviously, compared to being there, but what the […]

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