Fans of retro rock, unite! Stereo Off has given us a delightful offering with the aptly named Stereo Off New York EP5, a well-constructed five-song EP (go figure, right) that gives the most eclectic electronic sounds with the most down to earth rock tones and crashes them together to create an enthralling experience.
“Photographs” sounds really far out, man! It’s got a real spacey vibe due to the various sounds effects at play, all the while with an almost grungy folk rock rhythm keeping the song going along. It feels like the perfect song for a music festival: engaging, kind of retro, and easy to enjoy, it’s a great way to invite people in to the rest of the EP.
I like the way “Bullet Time” starts, with sharp jaunty electric guitar chords giving an edge to the song as a whole. Stereo Off proves here that they are unafraid to toe many lines of conventional and idealistic music, alternating from fantastical effects to straightforward technique and back with no effort at all. I also realized how perfect the vocal style and singer’s voice sounds with the instruments.
“Effectual” reminds me so much of an 80’s pop rock song! It’s got the same edgy chord structure as “Bullet Time” but sounds a lot more rock oriented than the latter. I mentioned vocal style earlier, and here the singer shows some range, with his delivery getting sharper and more gritty as each song progresses. I got some laughs from the lyrics here, too.
“The Thrill” is a bit more laid back than the others, which at first seemed ironic but after listening to the lyrics makes perfect sense. This sounds like it could be right at home on a Pandora station generated from Genesis/Tears for Fears songs and in fact, perhaps this is the love child of those two. It seemed a bit short for what it was, though it isn’t the shortest song here; I believe that’s because I was so entranced by the sound that I was surprised to hear it end. That’s a good thing.
“MI6” picks the pace back up with an almost reflective chord that gets real dirty, real quick. I just love the energy in this song, as though everyone just threw caution to the wind and let ‘er rip. The solo was really cool and was an unexpected sound touch. I could totally hear something like this in a cell phone or MP3 player commercial, where young people are dancing and kicking and shaking their hair around gleefully.
This is cool! Seriously cool! It’s just retro enough to appeal to fans of 80’s pop – seriously, who isn’t a fan of that – but with enough of a rock edge to please those with a taste for things heavy. I especially loved “The Thrill” and felt it was a bit of a crowning moment for the EP, and was perfectly placed just before the final song. I encourage everyone to give this a listen and see the magic for yourselves!
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