When I was first put the Holy Ghost! record on I didn’t know what to expect. I had done no prior research on the band nor had I heard of them. I figured I was in for a huge surprise and I was. This was the weirdest throwback to 80’s pop I’ve ever heard. Elements of new wave, electronica, pop and glam showed up through my headphones as I stared at the ceiling in wonder that a record could ever get this sound again. This is an exercise in nostalgia for those who never grew up during the 80’s. I am not a fan of pop music from any decade nor will I ever be but Holy Ghost!’s self-titled album was a fun and intriguing listen. A bit of an odd head trip too. Unfortunately, I’m still not a fan of this sound.
Catchy melodies, old school drum machines and glamorously over produced synths is the name of the game here. Everything seems like it was painstakingly crafted to have such a vintage sound. Holy Ghost! probably worked really hard to do this or maybe they just got some 80’s producers to manage this sound and tweak it into this glossy sheen. Sadly, this production technique is ear splitting and annoying. It sounds too well crafted and shiny that none of the raw dirt of 80’s music really shows up. Sure, the musicians are competent enough to play their instruments and the singer certainly has a unique voice, but man is that production annoying. Caked on layers of gloss and shine does not make for a good sound unless you’re some terrible band like Nickelback.
I know this production probably was supposed to add to the vintage feel, but it doesn’t help. Also, this style was always pretty cheap and gimmicky, even if I never grew up in that time. There are only so many variations of the same chords and melodies you can put into songs before it gets old. There have been better exercises in throwback music, and this just seems like an attempt to bring a new gimmick to the indie crowds. If more of this pops up over the years, it shall be blamed on this record and maybe a few other bands.
Even though this sort of throwback pop has been done before, these guys are sort of fun to listen to and they write catchy songs in the most simplistic form of the word. Unfortunately, overdone production and rewriting of the same songs over and over again cheapen this albums vibe. Maybe Holy Ghost! has some better ideas for the future, or maybe they will stick with this sound. I just hope they can get a better sense of style and originality for their future releases.
[audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/potholespodcast/Holy%20Ghost%20-%20Wait%20&%20See.mp3|titles=Holy Ghost! – “Wait & See”]