Published Sep 30, 2015San Francisco's Dirty Ghosts seem to have a real penchant for '80s pop rock, as the sounds of their second album, Let It Pretend, suggest. The title track could easily be the pivotal tune of a John Hughes film, with harmonies reminiscent of Bananarama and a driving chorus that you can picture a montage of teenaged lovers in high-waisted jeans and sneakers running along to. The preceding track is anchored with a classic the Police-esque guitar strum pattern and quaint little keyboard bit that sounds very much like the one in the Cure's "Close To Me."
The punchy "Cataract," with electronic beeps and boops à la "Blinded Me With Science," comes a little too close to that tune with the lyric "You're like a cataract covering my eyes from far away," but the song is such an earworm that you'll forgive and forget that it's a bit of a stretch, lyrically. With bright synths, big booming choruses, keyboard decorations, clean and clear guitars, the '80s is alive and well on Let It Pretend.
Toronto-born frontwoman Allyson Baker's vocals have improved since their last effort, 2012's Metal Moon, on which she took on a singing role for the first time. Despite this, she still tends to sing in the same register, which contributes to a number of songs on this record sounding the same, in terms of the vocal melody. That isn't enough to make Let It Pretend suffer, however. It remains a clean, catchy and harmlessly fun release, not pushing any boundaries or bringing anything new to the table, but staying true to comfortable classic pop rock tropes — '80s tropes, that is. (Last Gang)