REVIEW: Stereoskop – “Elektrika”

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

In a WhileFans of Erasure, Ultravox, Republica and similar take note. Spain’s Stereoskop has kicked out their third album, Elektrika, and have done so with aplomb. The band’s style hovers around the new-wave and Romantic sound of the 80s and jazzes it up with heavier guitars and strong riffs throughout, melting into progressive rhythms and smooth melodic synth and key interludes. I’ve received two CDs from this group, the one I’m talking about now and the maxi-single for In a While, one of the band’s key new songs. In a While is the first new single released just prior to the Elektrika full length. It can be found on the soundtrack for Coto Matamoros’ Plauto, and has some good company there as well; Smashing Pumpkins, Waterboys, Sex Pistols to name a few.

Elektrika is a strong release, with great music for any club dance floor. Lose Your Life is a highlight with a floating guitar opening by Alex Brujas and simple yet effective bass line. The voice of Susana Egea and strong percussive control of Pat Subaru make a strong statement for Spain’s musical capabilities. The downside of Elektrika is that there isn’t much that you’ll find with a “never before heard” stamp on it – indeed some of the groups I mentioned earlier in this review do very similar music. But Spain seems to have a knack of, while not catching up to some of the new movements coming out of Europe or the USA, does take those movements that they have heard about and make more of it that’s quite good and satisfying.

Stereoskop’s first single, In a While, opens the album nicely with sliding bass and key melodies interspersed with heavy-handed yet subtly controlled guitars. Stereoskop has a knack for letting the music become wall-of-sound like without losing control of it, keeping it in check. Susanna’s vocals are very good and touched with just a slight lace of metallic tinge, especially during choruses. Playing on light subtleties of electro, Molten Lead is a strong song with great arrangement and style.

Stereoskop’s tracks tend to grow up before your eyes, starting subtle and light and increasing in girth, complication and direction. The band keeps the songs from traveling too far away, and instrumentation and sounds don’t lose themselves in the mix or take control in any way. All of the melodies, vocals, guitars and FX remain together as a whole. The chaos that can become prevalent in this style of music is kept at bay. On the whole, while Stereoskop create music that some of us have enjoyed by similar bands, they do provide another valid option for those of us that have worn out our Republica or Ultravox CDs.

Contact Information:
Post: STKM Records, c/ Cavaniles 22 Bajo, 28007, Madrid, Spain

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