Holy Ghost! Holy Ghost!Holy Ghost!
Coincidence or not, Holy Ghost!’s eponymous debut album was released 48 hours after LCD Soundsystem’s big goodbye show at Madison Square Garden in New York. A legend of nu-disco says goodbye, only to present one of the latest signings to their DFA label. And, as usual, James Murphy nailed it again. New Yorkers Alex Frankel and Nick Milhiser met at the tender age of seven in primary school, and in 2003 they started their first adventure, Automato, supported by the bosses of the label that has now picked them up again. The album is an effort that has been maturing for three-and-a-half years, made in collaboration with the legendary Michael McDonald (Doobie Brothers), the sadly departed Jerry Fuchs (The Juan MacLean and !!!, among others), Luke Jenner (The Rapture) and Chris Glover (Penguin Prison).
Since then, they have been touring with LCD Soundsystem and Chromeo, they made a cover version of a Friendly Fires track and have remixed Cut Copy, MGMT and Phoenix, so you can figure out what kind of music we’re talking about here. The Upper West side duo is all about the eighties, with Italo disco running through their veins. A passion that becomes more than obvious on “Wait And See”, with a simple yet extremely catchy and danceable keyboard line. Although “It’s Not Over”, a constant crescendo that explodes in the chorus, is the real space disco anthem.
Sure, they don’t forget who is boss and they prove it on “Hold On”, with those keys and buzzing bassline inherited from LCD Soundsystem. Four years later it sounds as fresh as when they premiered it. And to pay tribute to the masters, what better way than to make a six-minute song? Shorter but equally influenced is “Do It Again”, the track that opens the album with it robotic funk and arpeggio overdose. “Static On The Wire” maintains that viral funk with touches of electro. And to finish it off, “Some Children”, the most ambitious piece on the album, with children singing and the unmistakable voice of McDonald. Groove is in the heart. But they don’t always look at late seventies, early eighties New York disco. “Hold My Breath” and “Jam For Jerry”, on which Alex Frankel temporarily turns into Thomas Mars and which serves as a tribute to the former Juan MacLean drummer and an example as to how important the lyrics are to the duo, have got New Order written all over them.
The eighties revival, though it seemed like almost over halfway through the past decade, keeps offering very interesting ideas like Holy Ghost!, determined to not let a decade, that brought so much joy to the dancers, get buried. Although they sound similar to the bands mentioned earlier, the twosome manages to collect ten songs without pretensions but with a lot of attitude. The collaborations, their unbeatable godfathers and the infinite patience they’ve shown in spite of the hype created around them in the blogosphere, surely contributed to that fact.
Álvaro García Montoliu