"Do It Again"
It's Spring 2011 and Brooklyn DJ duo and DFA disco artistes Holy Ghost! finally grace us with their long-awaited self-titled long player. Like a birthday bash trapped inside a virtual reality video game on a train in the night, this record caters to all comers and invites you to sit down, listen, stand up and dance.
As if sent down from the mother ship in Close Encounters… Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel entertain from start to ringing finish. With quick percussion ticking over space-age piano lines, first track "Do It Again" uses a keen blend of wallowing bass lines and repeated electronic euphoria to confirm the quality of what’s to follow. In fact, this first track alone is enough to spur all manner of excitement.
After "Do It Again" spreads on layers of fizz-popping electro beats, second track "Wait and See" drags in 80s pop stanzas before ripping into the future with every man and his dog feeling compelled to chant along: “oh, o-oh, o-oh!” "Hold My Breath" feels like a Rocky montage if Stallone had been an anime character and simple disco number "Jam for Jerry" uses straightforward pop tricks to set its listeners up and executes in such a skilled way that you can’t help but put down your chocolate milk, get up and shake your tail feather.
One thing these DFA disco extraordinaires do well is build-up. "It’s Not Over" employs ominous industrial atmosphere and echoed steel drums over an infectious pop line while "Slow Motion"’s soulful pop creeps ever closer to a jubilant finish peppered with triumphant horns and "Say My Name" hashes out plain lyrics that are super cool if only in their funky delivery (“walk out the door!”). With each baffling pump of happy beats and cheery melody, Holy Ghost! pull your feet skipping toward the dance floor.
Listening to this record almost feels like you’ve been transported to a warehouse rave that’s flying on the back of a tortoise over the Amazon. Holy Ghost! strike a much-needed balance between both budding DJs in their bedrooms and dance-hungry clubbers. Tracks "Jam for Jerry" and "Hold On" stand out as floor fillers that are destined to be remixed a hundred times over. Holy Ghost! are undeniably DFA with their disco-riddled electro rock and, in a world where said genre seems to get reinvented every New York minute, Millhiser and Frankel bring something far more vital: fun.
At points throughout this record, you might find yourself a little embarrassed, checking behind in case anyone’s watching – especially with intros like that of "Jam for Jerry" where their 70s disco sound comes across more ABBA than Shaft. This record also seems more a compilation of tracks than a fully-flowing album and it certainly shows when ending number "Some Children" kicks in. The ultimate build-up: "Some Children" feels like the song Holy Ghost! had wanted to play you all along but waited until the end of the record to show you. It’s funky. It’s disco. It’s popalicious and best of all, it stars Doobie Brothers, blue-eyed soul man Michael McDonald on vocals, which is enough to make anyone disco-hungry citizen rip the record out of its transparent plastic sheath.
A decent record with plenty of quality numbers that shows massive potential for these two Brooklyn spinners.