Reviewed by Christopher Gray, Fri., Feb. 3, 2006
Paparazzi Lightning (Trashy Moped)
Like Franz Ferdinand, Austin's Ghostland Observatory decided that the best way to deal with the mountain of (mostly deserved) hype accompanying their 2005 debut, delete.delete.i.eat.meat, was another album hot on its heels. The result, Paparazzi Lightning, is more assured if less audacious, separating the duo's dance and rock colors into more distinct tones united by Thomas Ross Turner's relentless, robust beats. If Daft Punk dominates over the New York Dolls this time around, guitarist/vocalist Aaron Behrens leaves no doubt where his loyalties lie on shriekers such as "Ghetto Magnet" and "All You Rock & Rollers." Turner, meanwhile, plays his keyboard bank like a veteran character actor, leading to the taunting "Piano Man," spookhouse disco of "Vibrate," and sly pizzicato strings of the title track. After a frenetic first half, Paparazzi pauses for breath on the R&B-ish "Stranger Lover," and almost loses its way among the spaghetti-Western whistling and Soviet stringscapes of "I'll Be Suzy." It recovers for finale "Midnight Voyage," which, despite its chilled-out ambience, bears an uncanny vocal resemblance to En Vogue's "Free Your Mind." This makes perfect sense, actually: Wherever Ghostland Observatory goes, the asses always follow.