You would think that equal parts Simian and The Wiseguys would result in a strange amalgamation of mediocre electro/dance/rock/hip-hop songs that could be used as promotional tools in car advertisements around the world. But Simon Lord and Theo Keating manage to suitably distance themselves from their former commercialized projects and dabble in an assortment of genres, all the while cohesively maintaining a morbid, underlying ode to trip-hop.

The Black Ghosts incorporate all the right materials to create a Massive Attack redux—moody, albeit sometimes violent lyrics (“If my hands were around your throat/ would you tell me what I need to know?” Lord sadistically yelps on “Some Way Through This”), apocalyptic strings, and theatrical breakbeats. However, they avoid the regurgitation of old Portishead albums by unloading heavy guitar distortion on top of downtempo ambience or layering punk screams over Brian Wilson-esque pop hooks, the latter of which is brilliantly executed on “Repetition Kills You,” featuring Blur’s Damon Albarn.

The subtle style collisions are endless; The Mamas and the Papas meets electronica on “Full Moon,” mambo and soul melt together between cliché disco choruses on “It’s Your Touch,” white-boy funk weaves unabashedly through indie vocals on “Something New.” They’re testing limits and pushing boundaries—with surprisingly positive results. (IAMSOUND) –Lauren Ciraulo