Simon Lord has been busy since the breakup of Simian, releasing albums as Garden (2006’s Round and Round) and Lord Skywave (2008’s Lord Skywave). His latest outfit, The Black Ghosts, a duo consisting of Lord and The Wiseguys’ Theo Keating, play a psychedelic, dark, club-driven brand of electro-pop. The Black Ghosts are likely to have the most staying power of any of Lord’s recent projects and are the most accessible and closest resemblance to Simian to date.
The Black Ghosts are a creation of unconventional happenstance. Lord and Keating met over the Internet and completed much of the work for the project before ever physically meeting each other. The album contains eleven songs, all of which have their own specifically commissioned music video to accompany. The videos border on the bizarre but have a knack of portraying the dark imagery that permeates from the Ghosts’ otherwise machine-like sound. A whopping six tracks from The Black Ghosts have been designated as singles.
The Black Ghosts features Lord’s stylized crooning over the bubble and thump of Keating’s precise beats. Though it is pop music through and through there is a blatant seediness present as Lord pines over past relationships and his ever-changing mood. Somewhere in the darkness of the songs it becomes acceptable to sing along to songs that without the gloomy overtones would be blatant pop.
There exists a great diversity among the tracks on the Ghosts’ eponymous album. Songs like “Some Way Through This,” “It’s Your Touch” and “Until it Comes Again” are among the slowest on the album but see Lord’s vocals at their rangiest, conjuring up memories of Simian favorite and Justice catalyst, “Never Be Alone.”
“Repetition Kills You,” a song written by and with vocals from Damon Albarn has perhaps the Ghosts’ tightest beat, while the trippy “Full Moon” has found its way onto the soundtrack of the movie Twilight. However, the pinnacle of The Black Ghosts is a pair of songs, “Something New” and “I Want Nothing,” in which Lord sings with an unsavory desperation. The majority of the songs on the album deal with narrator’s (Lord) relationships and the spectrum of discontented feelings that accompany them and both of the aforementioned tracks are no different. On “Something New,” Lord laments the he’s “grown old too fast and whole weeks pass without a single glimpse of meaning/ and if disaster came at least there’d be a change.” It’s a fuckin’ sassy song and Lord and Keating are dead on in translated that. “I Want Nothing” is a pipe dream of lust and wishful thinking that strikes a chord from the get-go, with an impassioned desire that remains slightly repressed when Lord sings the opening line, “I want nothing but the love of the next stranger who walks through that door.”
There is an inexplicable sexiness to The Black Ghosts.It may derive from a mixture of two things—the album being only relevant as night music and the unfettered desperation that is unmistakable in Simon Lord’s signature croons. The songs here offer enough trendiness to be sung along with and enough gloominess to give the music a masculine feel. Therein lies the real appeal.
Simian – We Are Your Friends
Lord Skywave – Lord Skywave