Music Review: Ghostland Observatory, “Robotique” Majestique” (**)
“Why a cape?” — George Costanza
Total enjoyment of Ghostland Observatory’s third disc, Robotique Majestique, hinges on the listener’s tolerance of cheapo film scores for 1980s Chuck Norris flicks, and whether same listener believes that mashing those sound tracks with Queen’s Hot Space is a capital idea. No question about it, Robotique Majestique is speckled with beautiful trash, but this Austin, Texas electro-glam duo pads out the remainder with nearly enough art-damaged Casiotone glitches and robo-coasting exercises to cancel out the sweet spots.
When lead bellower Aaron Behrens and caped keyboard crusader Thomas Ross Turner strike synthesizer-comedy gold, all the pleasure sensors light up. “Dancing On My Grave” is a fine distillation of Klymaxx’ electro-soul and Freddie Mercury-style vocal hysterics, and the title song gets its doom-disco groove on while Behrens welcomes listeners to his plastic-fantastic jungle.
But Ghostland Observatory needs an editor. “HFM” suffers from bludgeoning, bargain-basement beat boxes and Behrens’ fried-out caterwauling, and Turner’s sub-Daft Punk instrumentals test nearly all levels of patience. Robotique Majestique has potential hits but twice as many outright misses —good judgment and fewer time-wasters could save Ghostland Observatory’s future from being “robotique pathetique.”
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