Three albums into their career, Austin's Ghostland Observatory
still have to take more than their share of comparisons to Daft Punk
-- so much so that from the title on down, Robotique Majestique
pretty much drops the pretense that the French duo isn't a direct influence. Singer Aaron Behrens' guitar, previously Ghostland Observatory's most musically unique element, is notable in its absence, leaving multi-instrumentalist producer Thomas Turner's undeniably Daft Punk-influenced synths and beats the only counterpoint to Behrens' squalling vocals. On songs like "No Place for Me" and "Dancing on My Grave," what results is a peculiar mashup of electronic dance-funk tunes and '80s hair metal vocals, a strange but unexpectedly compelling blend of two retro fashion statements that one would never expect to work as well together as they do. If all of Robotique Majestique
explored similar territory, it would be nonstop (albeit slightly tacky) fun, but the album is larded with tracks like the sloggy instrumentals "Holy Ghost White Noise" and "Club Soda," the dated industrial noise-funk of "HFM," and the weedy title track, which sounds like Turner and Behrens are hoping for a Go West
revival to be the big dance music trend of 2008. Despite the missteps, well over half of Robotique Majestique
is terrifically entertaining; it just seems like the hit-to-miss ratio could have been so much higher without much more effort.