Recently, DFA records, which supports the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip, released the self titled debut EP of the Disco band Holy Ghost! Hailing from New York City, Holy Ghost! first entered the scene with their DJ sets and hit tracks. Today, Holy Ghost! has taken the project to a complete band with guitar, bass, synthesizers, DJ equipment, and drums to create an experience that can transport you to an era of fresh and fabulous outfits, parties, and tunes.
As the genre of Disco influenced bands and music is starting to gain much respect and playability throughout the USA, being featured in larger festivals and normal touring circuits, Holy Ghost! is re-entering the scence with a fresh look and killer production in a live setting . Overall, the album is a good listen from front to finish, providing tracks that are inviting in a large setting and also some unexpected renditions of the genre’s point of view.
The album starts off with a track that introduces the tone and sound of the nuDisco made complete band. Slower than most dancey tracks in relation to the rest of the album ‘Do It Again’ sounds like something straight out of the soundtrack to a vintage 70’s flick you might catch on a Sunday afternoon. With the simple layers of synthesizers and electronic voice samples in response to the live vocals, the song is placed perfectly as the intro to a DJ set would seemingly start; it is made with the purpose to ease the listener before bringing the heat.
‘Wait and See’ exemplifies this progression, supplemented with a newly posted music video featuring none other than the fathers of Holy Ghost! A bit faster, this song gets your head nodding immediately as the heavenly chimes and steady bass groove enables a soundscape where strutting is most fitting.
This album is able to achieve this vintage sound while still implanting modern effects and influences. Holy Ghost! shows excellent restraint in the patience and structure of their tracks. As most electronic tracks are generally produced, one expects to hear a steady lead, then a build up that drops into a hard dance tune. However, as heard through this album, the approach that Holy Ghost! provides is one of steady form that continually has you interested and intrigued. With catchy hooks like in ‘Hold my Breath’, Holy Ghost! is begging to truly draw in the listener with three tracks that completely build off each other.
Arguably the most out-of-place track for this band would be the new club-like ‘Say My Name’. Holy Ghost! deceives the listener into thinking they are about to slow down with a mellow track but then hits with the standard four on the floor house beat (where the bass drum hits on the quarter note and cymbal splitting between them). However, just when the verse begins, they institute this almost dark back beat with the vintage lyrics that brings the tune to a different sound completely then only to slow down as expected in the chorus and bridge. This tune is very diverse in its composition being that samples of different parts could be applied to variety of different playlists and DJ sets. In other words, it would take great skill and control to be able to spin this track.Holy Ghost!- Say My Name by TC1234
Later in the album we hear the quintessential Holy Ghost! track ‘Hold On’. This is the tune that got them noticed on charts, mixes, and symbolically set the tone for their career with DFA. The following track ‘It’s Not Over’ emulates the previously mentioned vintage movie soundtrack feel to it with the resonating toms and upbeat bass line.
‘Static on the Wire’ strays from the common disco drum pattern and adds a funky element with the trickling carefully places clav effects. This song is slow moving with layer after layer coming in successive bars. The placement of the track is questionable being that it precedes the final track on the album. When devising the track list for an EP it is important to understand the cadence of tracks. Like a good story, it is important to have the last track leave a lasting impression for the listener and by setting a mellower track before the final ‘Some Children’ is an interesting tactical placement for the band being that the last track is not necessarily the most raging. However, this writer likes the progression of tracks and how ‘Some Children’ almost provides an opportunity for a sing along with its triumphant lifting backup vocals that really do set a mood of bliss and ease.
Altogether, the self titled album Holy Ghost! successfully invites listeners into a world of new sounds resembling a once prized and sometimes estranged times of the Disco era. Similar to the surge of relative acts in this genre and recurring play of these tunes in clubs and mixes across America, Holy Ghost! is a band to check out and throw on when you are starting a party, and by the end, you should be ready to dance or rest because you just did.
Written by Danny Goodman