What I thought was going to be 101 style post-rock turned out to be unexpected off-kilter surprise when I listened to the seventeen minute EP Surface Tension by The Stereo Eclipse. As soon as I heard the reverb laced guitars that reminded me of Godspeed You! Black Emperor I thought I could forget about vocals but I was proven wrong rather fast. The vocalist is a female who I don’t have a name for but think she sounds a bit like Beth Gibbons from Portishead at times. I’m sure she will take that compliment.
Their style is a mix between post-rock and post-punk with a tinge of goth. You can hear traces of The Cure and even Joy Division at times. As you could have guessed the music feels dark. The heavily laced hall reverb on the guitars only adds to the feelings of isolation and melancholy.
I was digging their sound but I wanted the production to be about twenty five percent better.The guitars aren't present enough in the mix and were masked by some of the lower frequencies. My only other complaint is that the vocal are to buried and needed to be properly compressed. See the beginning of the second track.
The EP starts with “The Contract” which I thought was the strongest song of the three. I thought the instrumentation coalesced very nicely here. The guitar part was inventive as he used delay effects wisely and created a dynamic canvas for the vocalist. When they rock are when you hear the production starting to give way a bit. Nothing major but noticeable.
“Solomon” was a wise choice of a follow up as it has quite a bit more energy which comes mostly from the drum work. They close with “Burning Car Angels” which had flat out catchy vocal melodies. It’s a solid closer. The band apparently evolved from a home-recording project into a four-piece band over the course of 2014. It’s obvious the band is still evolving and searching for what works. They are on to something with their sound but still have some way to go before it’s perfected.
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