The Holy Ghost

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Punchy pop with a good deal of urgency is what the Holy Ghost want to convey to you on the opening bouncy and infectious "Commercial," which comes off somewhere between Hot Hot Heat and Franz Ferdinand. But the ace hidden in the band's sleeve is drummer and vocalist Angela Webster, who helps out lead singer Christopher Dean Heine, bringing to mind Controller.Controller. "I'm so bored of the skinny ties," Heine sings as the song motors along strongly. Far better are the soothing, smooth, and sophisticated jazz-funk-pop leanings of "Genghis Khan," as Webster lends some subtle hi-hats here. Although arty, it flows flawlessly into an almost party feel along the lines of a camp-free Scissor Sisters. The album has very little nonsense on it, yet some tunes leave a stale taste in your mouth, especially the short and choppy "Did I Wear U Out." "Shut Up and Play" is a tepid garage rocker that relies on the groove more than the chorus to get its point across. The song is OK, but unfortunately they tend to downplay the tune. The sleeper pick might be "Chez Parée," which has that old-school classic rock & roll three-piece feel that bands like the Stray Cats developed and the Living End can excel at. Heine's lyrics are too introspective or deep, but fit around the tight melodies perfectly, particularly on the simple but catchy "Jiggle" that is part '70s-era classic rock with some horns sprinkled in. The middle portion of the album is mellow, with "Bastard Sun" being the core of the album, returning to the crunchy, foot-stomping pop of earlier tunes. However, some songs are aimless and seem instantly lost, none more so than the quizzical, faux-lush attempt at anthem-like rock on "Pyramid." They fare better on the smarter, tighter Midwestern rock of "Graciana Olé." The Holy Ghost rarely repeat themselves on this record, but sometimes that's a blessing and a curse.

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