Album review: "Static on the Wire"
The two full-time members of Holy Ghost! have performed with LCD Soundsystem, both live and in the studio. But their debut mini-album, "Static on the Wire," doesn't share LCD's taste for undercutting its tunes with ironic self-mockery. Holy Ghost!'s Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser take their music seriously. As seriously, that is, as anyone can take neo-disco jams about dancing and romancing.
The two Brooklyn musicians turn back dance music's clock, but not in an arty, self-conscious way. They just like the warm feel of analog synthesizers -- the spongy wah-wah tones of 1970s funk and polyrhythms that sound more like a Latin-jazz orchestra than the product of a computer. On stage, the duo expands to include guitars and live percussion, and it's hard to imagine the album's salsa-rooted closer, "I Know, I Hear," played any other way.
Holy Ghost! doesn't peel its music to beats and loops, in the manner of house music, or enlist the disco divas usually associated with yearning thumpers such as "Say My Name." Frankel and Millhiser sing the songs themselves, as if they were earnest indie-rockers. They aren't, of course, but their music has a sincerity that is as distinctive as it is cleanly rendered.
-- Mark Jenkins, June 2010