No one can ever accuse Ghostland Observatory of opportunism -- not only did they emerge too late to jump on the electroclash bandwagon of the early 2000s, it's entirely conceivable that they -- with singer Aaron Behrens prancing around in pigtails like some misplaced glam rocker to cohort Thomas Turner's dance-rock beats -- got their asses kicked on a regular basis when starting out in their home town of Austin. And with the release of Ghostland Observatory's fourth album, Codename: Rondo, the perseverant pair has managed to last longer and create more music than most of the original electroclash cabal. Behrens and Turner are at their best when they're mixing a Suicide-like, post-punky drive with walloping Justice/Daft Punk synth hooks, and from "Glitter" to "Miracles," the album is heavily front-loaded in that direction. After that, though, things begin to go astray; the pointless, overlong title track revolves around an odd spoken narrative whose intent is hard to discern and is neither engaging nor amusing. Much of the album's second half is dominated by silly, annoyingly campy outings that evoke a histrionic American version of Yello, and if you've ever wondered why there aren't more ballads in the electro-rock universe, "Mama" will provide you with an answer. If Ghostland Observatory spent more of Codename: Rondo pushing the pedal to the proverbial metal instead of goofing around, the impact of the album's first few tracks might have been extended further.
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AllMusic Review by James Allen