REVIEW: Stereoskop – “In a While”

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Chain Border

In a WhileUsually EPs are hit-or-miss affairs, depending on the willingness of the artist to make an impression. In the case of Madrid's Stereoskop, they have opted to release an EP with a dual personality – one half laden with derivative remixes, the second half dedicated to other songs that slightly contrast the original body of work from which the project assumes its name. Helmed by Alex Brujas who handles guitars, bass, samplers and drum machines, Stereoskop have gotten serious mileage out of one song, In a While. A hard-driving dance slam remixed to death in close-to-exactly the same manner as Depeche Mode organizes their remixes. Those who have heard the classic Behind the Wheel maxi-single will undoubtedly be smirking through In a While; it is close to tributary in the demeanor Stereoskop remixes their feature tune, while opting to round out the EP with a set of other dance-flavored tracks that are safely harmonious, just hip enough to live up to the title song.

The album mix of In a While is driven by steady electronica, cool guitar and standard bass work by Alex Brujas and fine DJ spinning by L.E. Diaz. A real butt grinder worthy of any club playlist. No argument necessary. Vocalist Susana Egea has an assumptive voice that only hints at what her fullest capacity might be, especially in consideration of the ensuing remixes. The Brujas Remix features a coldwave tweak that is actually dancier as Depeche Mode is famous for doing with their remixes, but alas the track overstays its welcome at 7:42. The L.E. Diaz Remix shoots from the hip with a stomp beat, exactly as Depeche Mode revolutionized back in the day like on the Route 66 remix. The sudden calypso groove is also from another page in the Depeche Mode bag of tricks like the Enjoy the Silence remix. If this sounds like nitpicking to drive home the Depeche Mode connection, it is. The Nexus Remix validates this analogy with a lighter variation of the stomp beat that suddenly drops into a hammering flow amidst the hollow texture of the revamped melody. By the time the listener is done with these subsequent remixes, the accented "once bitten, twice shy" line from the chorus will remain lodged in the memory banks, not in association with the Great White song, but more akin to...yes, you guessed it...Depeche Mode with "your own...personal...Jesus..."

The second part of the eight-track EP begins with By Hook or By Crook which rings like Fatboy Slim at first with its hip hop panache, but develops a different personality more in harmony with Gravity Kills with its sudden rockout mentality. Egea's vocals are deep and sexy on this track and are subsequently scaled down on the more laid-back Somersault, which features chill guitar and bass by Brujas. The song flirts with Goth overtures for the tiniest of moments, but stays close to its dance-mindedness which, in light of this project as a whole, is perfectly fine. Brujas, after creating a superslam ditty with In a While, opts to play it more conservative in the second portion which is reflected in What Are You Up To, played with a guarded dance tempo and airy Cure-esque guitars, conventional bass and programming with a medium rocking chorus. A nice keyboard accompaniment spices up this track, while This Puzzle rounds out the disc with a slower, menacing beat and grungy guitar. It's a by-the-numbers dark jam you've heard before, tailor-made for the next I Know What You Did sequel.

In a While is a fly, trendy offering that may eventually date itself depending on where the scene goes, but is enjoyable for the here and now. Alex Brujas and his partners-in-crime, Susana Egea, L.E. Diaz and Pat Subaru probably have something more meaningful to assemble that may be on the horizon in the form of a full-length LP. But isn't that what most EPs are about, giving only a taste of what is yet to come?

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

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