Ghostland Observatory

See You Later, Simulator (Trashy Moped Recordings)

Texas Platters

"Putting down your bread and butter is crazy," admitted Aaron Behrens in 2014 about his decision to put Ghostland Observatory on hiatus four years earlier. Having headlined Lollapalooza and graced Lexus commercials, the Austin duo of frontman Behrens and musical mainframe Thomas Turner return with their first full-length in eight years. Proclaimed by the singer as a "rebirth, a phoenix rising from the ashes," fifth album See You Later, Simulator configures smaller by shrouding Behrens' hair metal histrionics in Turner's Moog-driven melodies. The pair's electro space odyssey still flashes back to Krautrock, Freddie Mercury glam, and Daft Punk worship, but in minimalist terms compared to the maximum bombast of Ghostland Observatory. On the title track, Behrens inhabits a subdued timbre that distorts behind the fuzz/drone percussion that teeter-totters between French electronica and proto-industrial. As with Robotique Majestique (2008), this mirrors the largest shift in Behrens' shriek and punchy guitar, which usually occupy the forefront of the mix. Deep house-smeared "Permanent Vacation" and interstellar cruiser "Loner" leave him riding shotgun to Turner's sprawling soundscapes. Buzz-synthed maelstrom "We Understand" filters his vox through robo-doppelgänger shifters. Only the sunshine vocoder on "With or Without You" and stutter step closer "Life of the Party" channel the spazz-pop seizures in Paparrazi Lightning (2006) and arena acrobatics of Codename: Rondo (2010). In other words, See You Later, Simulator leaves 2010 in the rear-view mirror.

***

The 2021-2022 Austin Music Awards Music Poll is underway. Vote now for your favorite bands, venues, and music until January 31.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Ghostland Observatory
The Man With Two Brains
The Man With Two Brains
The secret of Ghostland Observatory

Margaret Moser, Oct. 22, 2010

Codename: Rondo
Codename: Rondo
Codename: Rondo (Record Review)

Austin Powell, Oct. 22, 2010

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
VVV
Entanglement (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, Dec. 13, 2019

Levitation Album Reviews
Dallas Acid
The Spiral Arm (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Nov. 8, 2019

More by Alejandra Ramirez
What We're Listening to Right Now
What We're Listening to Right Now
Nakia, Sun June, Norman BA$E, Good Looks, 8½ Souvenirs, and more local sounds worth seeking out

Jan. 28, 2022

Review: Jamestown Revival
Review: Jamestown Revival
On Robert Ellis-produced fourth LP, Young Man, the Austin folk duo lays bare their intimate harmonies

Jan. 14, 2022

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Ghostland Observatory

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle