'When Animals Stare' is The Black Ghosts' second album and possesses a combination of entrancing beats and quixotic vocals. Comprised of duo Theo Keating and Simon Lord, some may be aware of the band after their track 'Full Moon' featured on the soundtrack of one of the Twilight movie installments (don't let this put you off). Any returning listeners anticipating more of the same should find themselves generally satisfied, as will newcomers to the group. The dreamy and hypnotic rhythms remain, although the album does feel more toned down and in turn atmospheric, and the palpitating beats that entranced previously are noticeably lacking.
'Water Will Find A Way' leads us in with an orchestral opening; a series of ostentatious trumpets and violins create the feeling that we are about to hear something pretty spectacular. Unfortunately, whilst what follows is most certainly enjoyable and pleasant enough, the subsequent tracks fail to sustain the hard-hitting initial impression. It appears that the water here shall be making steady waves rather than unruly tides. All is far from lost however, and full kudos to the band in that they don't stop in their attempt of continuing to deal the punches. A commanding bass line and intermittent bursts of trumpets in 'Walking On The Moon' certainly do not fail to grab our focus and the tight riffs in 'Talk No More' will soon have you tapping along in time. Meanwhile, 'In The Darkness' has an addictive, pulsating beat that slowly escalates alongside an amalgamation of guitar chords and piano keys, pulling you deep into its core.
There are a couple of elements that let this record down. The engaging nature of the early tracks as the record evolves wanes and the final few tracks seem to blur into one, although many could argue this is a regular occurrence on a number of albums. The other issue is Simon Lord's vocals. They're easy enough to listen to and wholly inoffensive, but therein lies the problem. Whilst he is able to hold a note and displays a decent vocal range, there is a distinct lack of feeling and this unfortunately makes it hard for us to care about the lyrics.
If you haven't heard of The Black Ghosts before then by all means look them up; their sound is definitely not reflective of the vacuous transparency their name beholds. However, they appear to have been marred slightly by the difficult-second-album-syndrome and instead of playing to their previously displayed strengths, have actually moved away from them. Lord and Keating are respected music composers and producers in their own right and Lord was also previously being a member of electro-rock band Simian. Therefore, it is evident that the talent and potential are both there, it's just that 'Where Animals Stare' might not be the best starting point in your search for it.