Ghostland Observatory

Robotique Majestique (Trashy Moped)

Phases & Stages

Ghostland Observatory

Robotique Majestique (Trashy Moped)

Since GLO's breakthrough at the 2006 Austin City Limits Music Festival, the local duo has struggled to top its electroclash charades. Their solution? Lasers. On Ghostland's third self-produced LP, Robotique Majestique, mastered at the Exchange in London by Nilesh Patel (Daft Punk, Justice), that strategy largely translates into massive, Technicolor electronic interludes delving deep into Depeche Mode. Caped phantom Thomas Turner cues the space odyssey with "Opening Credits," two-plus minutes of bad vibes that trigger acid flashbacks of Pink Floyd, while frontman Aaron Behrens solicits the ghost in the machine on the tantalizing title track before the whole thing orbits into a minute of interstellar overdrive. Instrumentals "Holy Ghost White Noise" and "Club Soda" balance French electronica with German Krautrock, and "HFM" checks for a pulse in between the two, then launches into a proto-industrial girth that sounds like Nine Inch Nails at 77 rpm. Whereas 2006's Paparazzi Lightning was loosely based on the band's meteoric rise, songs like the brooding "No Place for Me," "The Band Marches On," and 1980s banger "Dancing on My Grave" soundtrack their eventual demise. What's missing, even in operatic live staple "Heavy Heart," is the immediacy and pendulous push-and-pull provided by Behrens' jerky guitar, which is noticeably absent throughout. Careful without that axe, Eugene. (Ghostland Observatory shakes up a sold-out Austin Music Hall, Friday, Feb. 29.)

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