Austin-based duo Ghostland Observatory, featuring Aaron Behrens and Thomas Ross Turner, is ready to dive back into the soaring electro-pop world that they sidelined for nearly a decade with the release of their new album See You Later Simulator.
With their 2005 debut album, Delete.Delete.I.Eat.Meat, Behrens and Turner introduced themselves to the world with danceable jams that placed them on a radar behind bands such as MGMT and LCD Soundsystem. Following the premiere of the song “Sad Sad City” off their second album Paparazzi Lightning in 2006, the duo found themselves selling out shows at clubs around the country, on the lineup at ACL in 2006, 2007, and 2009, and at Lollapalooza for two consecutive years.
Leaving the music scene in 2013 after producing four full-length studio albums, it was said that the duo was done for good. Despite the hiatus, their new album See You Later Simulator epitomizes the same magic fans felt from previous hits like “Sad Sad City,” “Piano Man” and “Give Me the Beat.”
Ghostland Observatory’s rebirth is brought to the surface with “Paradise Lost,” an experience with a synced electro-mix of what appears to mimic sounds right out of “The Twilight Zone.” The title track “See You Later Simulator” picks up the album’s intent through a signature tune that brings back the mayhem of their early work, reflectant of the electro-disco aesthetic surrounding them.
The dance party kicks off with the track “Permanent Vacation” as the album really begins to dig deeper into a mix of different keyboard soundscapes and vocal echoes configured in a sequence much like that of Daft Punk. The vocals have a touch of robo-mystique that flow with Turner’s industrial melody. Though repetitive, the disco vibes prevail as the song ellipses with every listen.
Behrens and Turner take a more emotional approach with the tracks “Miss Abyss” and “Sometimes.” These tracks focus more on the lyrics and less on the crazy background noise that consumes the other tracks on the album. Rumor has it that “Miss Abyss” is going to be the new album’s hit due to its sentimentality, which wouldn’t come as a surprise since a new sound for the dance duo is keeping their story alive.
To get even more introspective, “We Understand,” “Open Wound” and “With or Without You,” are reflective of more dark dance vibes featuring robo-congeneric sounds from singer Thomas Ross Turner and sound overlays from Behren’s guitar.
The album comes to a close with the last two tracks, “Loner” and “Life of the Party,” channeling the band’s not-so-unusual snazzy dance pop jams. “Life of the Party” closes out the album in a way that leaves their eight-year hiatus in the rear view mirror, because it is simply that good.
Ghostland Observatory’s long-awaited comeback appears to be off to a good start. The duo kicks off their tour on Sept. 26 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and they will play at Austin’s own Stubb’s on Oct. 25. Eight years is a long time to leave fans waiting, but Ghostland Observatory has revamped their classic sound with See You Later Simulator, finally giving fans what they have been waiting for since 2013.