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The Black Ghosts

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Album Review

When Simian disbanded, the majority of the group became Simian Mobile Disco, while former singer Simon Lord hooked up with former Wiseguys producer DJ Touche (aka Theo Keating) and became one half of the Black Ghosts. Though the duo's self-titled debut album is less bouncy and eclectic than Simian's work, Lord's years with that band sharpened his pop skills, and his smooth croon is still immediately recognizable. To be fair to the Black Ghosts, Lord and Touche whip through nearly as many sounds and hooks as Simian did — they just take a subtler, slightly more sophisticated approach that fits in nicely with Hot Chip, Chromeo, Gorillaz (it's no coincidence that Damon Albarn makes a cameo on "Repetition Kills You"), and other dance-meets-rock contemporaries. The Black Ghosts cover both ends of that spectrum, opening the album with the bleak rock of "Some Way Through This" and returning to heavier guitars on "Until It Comes Again," and delivering more straightforward dance on "I Don't Know" and "Face." However, the duo sound best when they're right in the middle of those sounds, mixing and matching styles and coating them with pop gloss. The singles "Anyway You Choose to Give It" and "I Want Nothing" rival the best songs by the Black Ghosts' more established peers, while the soft rock/synth pop fusion of "Something New" and "It's Your Touch" is appealingly nostalgic and novel-sounding at the same time. "Full Moon" blends plaintive harmonies and fingerpicked acoustic guitars borrowed from British folk with subtler electronic touches, offering a refreshing change of pace as well as a side to the Black Ghosts' sound that they should explore further. Though a few songs border on being filler, The Black Ghosts is still a promising debut.


Formed: United Kingdom

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '00s

The Black Ghosts are a dance-pop twosome featuring vocalist Simon Lord, formerly of Simian, and Wiseguys' programmer/multi-instrumentalist Theo Keating, aka DJ Touche. Both Keating and Lord come from musical backgrounds: Keating's grandfather was an oboist with the London Symphony Orchestra who played on the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" and the Star Wars theme, while Lord's father was an electronic musician who built synthesizers, including white noise generators and a "Bio Activity Translator,"...
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The Black Ghosts, The Black Ghosts
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