Blonde by Ghost Beach

Blonde by Ghost Beach

 

Yet another in the barrage of 80s-influenced synthpop acts that are popping up everywhere now, Ghost Beach is the latest incarnation of the fashionable live electronica band. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Peter Gabriel and The Talking Heads, the NY-based duo deliver an array of smashing tunes full of summery vibes and groovy beats via their debut LP. What it lacks in substance and fresh ideas, Blonde makes up for in terms of sheer antidepressant vibes, and if you’re receptive enough, it can leave a tune or two stuck in your head forever.

 

TRACKLIST:
#1. Moon Over Japan 4:30
#2. Miracle 3:29
#3. Been There Before 4:16
#4. Close Enough 3:52
#5. On My Side 3:54
#6. Every Time We Touch 3:02
#7. Without You 3:47
#8. Tear Us Apart 3:56
#9. Faded 4:38
#10. First Time 3:23
#11. Empty Streets 3:36
#12. Too Young 3:54

 

PERSONNEL:
Josh Ocean: Vocals, Bass, Synths
Eric “Doc” Mendelsohn: Guitars, Synths

 

PRODUCER:
Ghost Beach

 

DATE OF RELEASE:
4th March, 2014

 

SINGLES:
On My Side
Moon Over Japan
Miracle
Been There Before
Tear Us Apart

 

Moon Over Japan, like most of the first half of the record, doses out Balearic vibes at a near-frightening pace, and there is the legitimate danger that the hook-a-minute approach could backfire at any moment. In Miracle for example, we’re constantly reminded that “I was born in this house and I’m burning it down!”. Perhaps this is all part of a nefarious plan to derail EDM’s unstoppable train with a set of tunes so over-the-top that next iteration of “Disco Sucks” is moved ahead of schedule?

 

Conspiracy theories aside, Ghost Beach is not immune to committing rookie mistakes. Though buoyed by a an extremely delicious performance by Noosa, Close Enough dabbles in the wrong kind of vocal sampling – the kind that plagued portions of Empire Of The Sun’s debut. But on the whole, Josh and the “Doc” have the right idea in mind: a belated revival of the synthpop sensibilities of the 80s and early 90s. They may be new to the scene, but don’t be surprised if they draw from the veteran fandoms of Tears For Fears, Duran Duran and the like – the kind that would absolutely devour the infectious, beach-party anthem that is Tear Us Apart.

 

To be fair, less than half of the album is actually new material – the boys have teased their fans with cut after cut of promotional and EP singles. One of the newer ones (Without You) is a clear homage to ska and reggae fusion of UB40. That’s understandable: there’s only so much pure electropop you can put on a record before redundancy sets in. It also explains why the band is a touch more experimental in the final third of the album. And though it needs some editing, a dash of industrial trance here (Faded), or a filling of lo-fi there (First Time) keeps Blonde from becoming too monotonous.

 

To their credit, the overall mix is a lot less aggressive, production values just a notch higher than their much touted EPs. This definitely helps us to digest Mr. Ocean’s intense, dig-it-or-trash-it – and I’ve thought long and hard before using this phrase – constipated singing more easily.

 

It wouldn’t be unfair to compare the lot to Phil Collins’ Sussudio heyday, with its excessively reverbed snares and attention-grabbing rhythm. And all of it could very well become virtually unlistenable five years from now. But hey, why not enjoy the ride while it’s still hot?

 

 

 

 

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