The Austin-based duo Ghostland Observatory – Aaron Behrens and Thomas Ross Turner – haven’t released an album in eight years, an eternity in the ADD-like music industry, but the synth-heavy excitement pulsates and shines like new throughout the new album. While the hiatus may have left Ghostland on the sidelines for the past few years, it doesn’t take long to feel the same magic on See You Later Simulator as they had from previous hits like “Sad Sad City”, “Silver City”, and “Piano Man.”
“Paradise Lost” primes the pump for the Ghostland experience with a sonic-induced mezze platter of bleeps and bloops. The title track “See You Later Simulator” picks up that momentum into an industrial, distant world of disaffected cool. Finally, the dance party kicks off with “Permanent Vacation”, which brings a slow vocal burn to an addictive, house-beat undercurrent.
The zenith of catchiness avails itself to be “Miss Abyss” where analog disco vibes prevail into an earworm that only inches deeper with every listen. Not to be shoehorned into a dance pop outfit, Ghostland goes introspective with tracks like “Open Wound”, “Loner”, and “Sometimes” – with the latter proving to be the most endearing.
The album closes strong with “With Or Without You” and “Life Of The Party”, displaying a level of quality control that simply doesn’t exist within most bands. There is no whiff of desperation, ‘forcing it’, or evidence of a money-grab in the triumphant return of Ghostland. Like a family member who disappears for a decade and walks back through the door one day without a wrinkle or scratch – Ghostland has benevolently given us another chapter.
Or as singer Aaron Behrens put it:
“This is our rebirth, the phoenix rising from the ashes, and we have no plans to slow down. We’re stepping out of the weird simulation we’ve been in, and coming back into the world for the beginning of round two”