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Ghostland Observatory | See You Later Simulator

The Austin electro duo make a long-overdue return to the underground dance party.

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It’s always later than you think. Especially when you’re gone. Look no further than Ghostland Observatory. It’s been five years since this Austin electro duo went on an extended hiatus, and nearly eight since they released their fourth and most recent album Codename: Rondo. But wherever they’ve been during that time, it’s clear they didn’t forget their way back to the underground dance scene. See You Later Simulator marks the long-overdue and much-welcome return of vocalist Aaron Behrens and synth-master Thomas Turner — along with their sci-fi arsenal of machines, moods and melodies. And while they’re still the life of the party, the celebration is the sort of subdued affair you might reasonably expect of men who have outgrown their glowstick days and gold-cape ways. Which is to say: The drum machines thump with slightly fewer bpms; the synths and sounds spend more time exploring inner space than outer space; and Behrens’ shape-shifting vocals are often more introspectively hypnotic than exuberantly hedonistic. But even if the overall approach is a little more low-key, that just leaves more room for the individual elements to make their mark. And they do. Once tracks like the darkly buzzing title cut, the finger-snapping Miss Abyss, the sweetly melancholic Sometimes, the apocalyptic Sometimes and the Prince-meets-Marlon Brando-in-Apocalypse-Now reflection of Open Wound creep under your skin, they’re harder to get rid of than last weekend’s glitter. So, no matter how late they are, Simulator is the real deal.