Heartbreak Bugaloo (Skeleton Farm Studio & Bismeaux Studio)
Reviewed by Alejandra Ramirez, Fri., Sept. 23, 2016
"My soul is getting lost in these neon lights," laments Aaron Behrens on "Don't Feel Like Dancing" from Heartbreak Bugaloo, assessment of his last dozen years as the manic frontman of electro outfit Ghostland Observatory. In 2013, Behrens stepped away from the Austin duo's strobe-light electronics for discordant guitar riffs and piano ballads in solo project Midnight Stroll. Now teamed with inspired multi-instrumentalist Jonas Wilson (Lomita, the White White Lights), the pair retains the Seventies stadium rock grandeur of Behrens' previous debut EP, the singer's melodramatic twang intact. The follow-up full-length also glistens with pop sensibility reminiscent of Queen (or locally, Magnifico) on sultry catwalk "Easy Money" and romantic crescendo "Can't Wait a Minute." Given Ghostland's bombast, Midnight Stroll offers filigreed maximalism. "Sparkle and Fade" flashes a tryst epic twisted to a defiant monologue, while "Losing My Mind" sprawls with psychedelic swirls and trash-can percussion, and "Just Hang On" serves as the explosive cornerstone. In all its expanse of dramatic flourishes, Heartbreak Bugaloo moves everything forward while still on the brink of frantic instability.