Austin, Texas' Ghostland Observatory revive the same tinny synths and clunky electro-funk as plenty of their '80s-loving peers; what sets this two-piece apart is its will to rock out. The spirit filling their eyepiece is undoubtedly Freddie Mercury's, with frontman Aaron Behrens copping the Queen singer's every shriek and howl on songs like "Dancing on My Grave" and "Sad Sad City." Drummer and beatmaker Thomas Turner focuses his lens on the ghosts in the machine, crafting rubbery basslines and big, splashy synths indebted to robo-funkers like the Time and Daft Punk. (Both of them jack Mercury's fashion sense, preferring capes and white flares to the electro scene's pegged-jeans aesthetic.)
The duo kicked off its career in 2005 with the self-released Delete.Delete.I.Eat.Meat..., a 10-song blast of sawtooth synths, distorted drums and yelp-along vocals, and it has gone on to develop its sound with three more albums in as many years, all on its own Trashy Moped label. The template has remained the same, but the sounds become fatter with every record, soaking up classic-rock organ riffs, techno beats and R'n'B flourishes. It's suave and goofy all at once.