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Album review: Holy Ghost!'s debut album

April 12, 2011 |  5:45 pm

Holyghost It’s tempting to consider Holy Ghost! a de facto replacement for LCD Soundsystem, which broke up last week to great fanfare. The group records for DFA Records -- the label headed by LCD leader James Murphy -- and even performed as accompanying musicians during LCD’s final television appearance on “The Colbert Report.” Aesthetically, the two bands share a love for merging rock vocals with dance-music classicism and, in particular, sonic nods to the greed decade.

Indeed, on Holy Ghost!’s debut album, a track like “It’s Not Over,” could be a lost New Order classic, and “Do It Again” manages to make Men Without Hats a cool influence. “Some Children,” meanwhile, engages in inspired stunt casting, bringing in an actual icon from previous musical eras, Doobie Brother Michael McDonald, for silky guest vocals.

Where the students and the mentors diverge becomes clear over the course of the record, however. LCD builds songs out of drawn-out tension, primarily to showcase Murphy’s singular idiosyncrasy; Holy Ghost!, on the other hand, creates taut compositions where the search for the perfect hook seems the goal. Typically, the band succeeds: Just try getting the choruses of “Hold On” and “Say My Name” out of your head. As a result, Holy Ghost! has created a classic pop album,  albeit one dressed for dancing in hipster finery.

-- Matt Diehl

Holy Ghost!
(DFA)
Three and a half stars

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