Codename: Rondo suffers from Ghostland Observatory’s greatness. Coming from other hands, this would likely seem a very interesting, dynamic record. Coming from these guys, it’s a bit “meh.” Most of that can be attributed to the relative lack of dynamic frontman Aaron Behrens’ screaming, scorching vocals. The man just might have the most underappreciated pipes in contemporary music, and they’re covered up here. A lot. However, when that mega-processed Stephen Hawking voice starts in on album closer “Kick, Clap, Speaker,” it’s actually kind of brilliant. It’s as if someone put funky into HAL’s programming, and he got down with his red-eyed self instead of trying to kill Dave. Unfortunately, when you know what Behrens can do with his voice, you really wish he would cut loose more. When he does let his voice take center stage, as on tracks like the Queen-meets-Prince-meets-Labyrinth-era David Bowie stylings of “Mama,” it reminds you of just how great Ghostland can be.
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