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Ghostigital - In Cod We Trust

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Artist: Ghostigital

Album: In Cod We Trust

Label: Ipecac

Review date: Mar. 12, 2006

In “The Most Unwanted Song,” Dave Soldier and Komar & Melamid demonstrated that shamefully enjoyable music can be made out of unequivocally bad elements. Einar Orn Benedikttsson takes that lesson to heart as Ghostigital. His nasal Scandie-British Jello Biafra accent, the famous voice that declaims “Two men need / one money but / One money needs / No Man” on the Sugarcubes “Delicious Demon,” could not be put in a more bizarre context: rap-metal.

The rehabbed-superstar genre has produced quite a few gems of late, from Mike Patton’s whole second (and third, and fourth) career to the indie-chanteuse success of Spanish-language pop star Christina Rosenvinge and TV actress Juana Molina. Simply imagining Einar Orn chilling with Mike Patton at Ipecac headquarters, Dälek sleeping on the couch and waking up to guest as need be, is a pretty good encapsulation of the Ghostigital project.

Ghostigital is actually a collaboration between Einar Orn and Icelandic utility infielder Curver, in which Curver takes care of the musical end and Einar sticks to vocals and occasional trumpeting. Dälek (pronounced 'dialect') appears on several tracks, enough so that the album is imprinted with the apocalyptic stamp of his vocal delivery. Could any two male voices be more disparate? Einar chants absurdity in a high-pitched Euro-trash whine while Dälek’s voice is so low and sleepy that it might as well be screwed; he’s too cool to break a sweat.

In “Good Morning,” Curver lays down stomping metalesque beats and guitar riffs and, like on “The Most Unwanted Song,” tosses in some opera singing. Einar spews forth mantras in a-rhythmic, fey excitement. “I’m happy as a clam, happy as a clam! Dälek answers, “Jesus Shit Motherfucker.” How did these two end up in the same room together? Observing their crack-up is ridiculous, joyful.

“Not Clean” can be read as an answer to Einar’s days in the Sugarcubes and as a chapter in his metaphysical writings. In “Deus,” Bjork claims “Deus does not exist,” and Einar answers “I once met him / It really surprised me / He put me in a bath tub / Made me squeaky clean / Really clean.” On “Not Clean” he says “How abstract can you get…Two gentlemen discuss Cod when they meet…They discuss the origins of Cod. Not Clean! Not Clean!…In Cod we trust!” Uncleanliness and fish – their slimy ooze lend an oily sheen to the whole length of In Cod we Trust.

Like “The Most Unwanted Song,” In Cod we Trust goes on far too long. Einar is charming, yes, but he will always be cursed by novelty, an accent, a conversation piece. His manic personality is hilarious in small doses, but continuous exposure makes one nervous. Dälek provides a soothing counterbalance, as Bjork once did, but Einar alone is pretty much what one would expect: like being trapped on a long car ride with the dude who sings “Barbie Girl."

By Josie Clowney

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