Theo Keating and Simon Lord, aka The Black Ghosts, will be familiar to those who’ve followed the traces of U.K. dance outfits Simian and The Wiseguys, from whence they were hatched. The ominous new band name and skeleton’s-head mascot suggest some sort of doom-laden industrial darkcore, but don’t let that frighten you: the album is much more varied, flitting about between light-stepping indie-dance pop (“Until It Comes Again”), brisk, electro-clashy rave-ups (“Repetition Kills You,” featuring Blur/Gorillaz head honcho Damon Albarn) and summer-breezin’ post-lounge affectations (“It’s Your Touch”).
It’s a fun listen, all this dancing around different areas of the floor, but eventually it sinks in that maybe these guys haven’t completely worked out what their combined strengths are. The lasting impression is one of pre-maturity—a bunch of interesting ideas that never jell into a coherent statement or sound.
There is, however, one absolutely killer moment, and wouldn’t you know, it’s a different left turn entirely. The opening track, “Some Way Through This,” is symphonic nouveau-R&B, a chilly-chill jagged-beat rhythm—an effective nod to the Neptunes-produced Kelis hit “Caught Out There”—driven by insane ’80s orchestra hits and impassioned vocals. It’s a really compelling sound. It’s also, sadly, a one-off for these guys.
The bottom line: ***