We can all pretend that pop music is about expression and not manipulation, but that wouldn't be a proper explanation of Ghostland Observatory's modus operandi. GLO's dance-y, modern electronica isn't all that special in musical terms—it can't be. Thumping beats, squelched sequencers, hints at disco, rock and roll swagger, and entreaties to get up and move are all things we can agree on—and insist upon—from our pop purveyors. I also enjoy specific dance instruction, such as: "Put your hand up on my hip." I digress.
The Austin, Tex. duo has cultivated the intangible. They have made the old new again by aping Daft Punk, Freddie Mercury, and dare I say it, David Lee Roth. Nothing wrong with that. It's how music is done in twenty-eleven. Besides, GLO has commandeered some planetarium's brain-tingling Laser Floyd gear. Shiny!
This is the kind of band you don't listen to. You reference them in convos: "My brother saw them at a bar in Casper!" When they come to town, you go to the show to feel cool and happening. You move on to the next thing. You fell for it. You had fun. So who cares?
Ghostland Observatory plays the Wilma Friday, May 20, at 8:30 PM with DJ Likes Girls. $25. Tickets at Rockin Rudy's and ticketfly.com.