Like actual ghosts, the UK’s Black Ghosts have an uncanny aura of the familiar. A shape that resembles something once known, but that is also completely different and evidence of the fact that life is a layered thing.
The Black Ghosts are Theo Keating (formerly of The Wiseguys) and Simon William Lord (formerly of Simian.) Keating and Lord also perform, DJ, and remix individually as Fake Blood and Lord Skywave, respectively. Consequently, even if you think you’ve never heard them, you get the sense you have because in actuality chances are you have already heard their sound. Just in a different incarnation.
It’s not to say that they “repeat” themselves, they just have a sound that is unmistakenly Black Ghosts. As musicians, DJs, and producers, both Keating and Lord have a real gift for hooks and a wit that sets them apart. For example their big hit a couple of years back was a twitchy dance choon founded on a frothy layer of sounds that was like a Frankenstein of fairly typical 80s pop hooks and an obviously repetitive chorus was cheekily called, “The Repetition Kills You.”
Their new album, “When Animals Stare” has all the hooks, in fact lots of big ones, but is a more sure-footed and unique affair. On this album, they’ve brought the tempo down a little and aren’t afraid of bringing in strings, kitchen-sink ukeleles, oboe sounds, and skittering Timbaland inflected drums. But with their smokey ghosty tongues firmly planted in their translucent ghosty cheeks, these dudes are fearless. Only a Black Ghost could start and really deliver as droll a lyric (on Sanguinella) as “blood, peace, suicide, pizza…” to such mind-blowingly perfect effect.