(2 out of 5)
The shtick that Austin’s Ghostland Observatory is peddling has moved well beyond the “whimsical curiosity” phase. Now, the duo’s electro-simplistic party-funk has become not just grating and redundant, but also an alarming reminder of just how low the bar for entry is in today’s newly democratized world of independent music. What’s most disappointing about CODENAME: RONDO isn’t that Ghostland makes dance-pop that’s unadventurous and entirely too nod-and-a-wink goofy, but that they’re still making pretty much the same record that made them once seem worthy of notice. “Self-satisifed” doesn’t begin to cover the laziness that permeates the sound on the duo’s fourth album; while the plodding rhythms, and brain-crushingly dumb lyrics of tracks like “Give Me the Beat” and “Time” would have been easily excused a few years ago as evidence of a band finding its stylistic footing, at this point, it’s pretty embarrassing. It’s clear that after four albums of essentially the same few songs – the sparse and ominous “New Wave-y” one, the jacked-up party-starter, the execrably earnest “sensitive” one – that Ghostland are long on gimmick and short on ideas.
First appeared Oct. 25, 2010 at Shockhound.com. (But it looks like they took the review down!)