The Stirrings is an experimental rock band from Madrid, Spain that mix pop with elements of shoegaze, noise, drones and distorted soundscapes. Formed in early 2018, the band consists of producer Raúl Galán Berlanga (synths), Juan Pérez Marina (guitar) and Ryan Louis Bradley (bass/vocals). The Stirrings’ fixation on noise and distortion make for an atmospheric sonic landscape on their latest album X-Ray Eyes. The buzz of the instruments adds to the ongoing drone as nonchalant vocals semi-sung and the other half, poetry performance, derives into a very artsy and experimental vibe. What the band doesn’t lack in is originality as the shoegaze-y dissonant ambiance points to a sound not tied down by expectations or preceding perspectives. This type of music seems to come from a deep and dark place from within the members, who are unafraid to show their dark side, as these tracks go on to serve as a conduit, connecting creators to audiences. Listeners will come away not only inspired, but feeling like they experienced something surreal, perhaps even other-worldly.
X-Ray Eyes gets started with “Start A Riot” where the rumbling bass holds the foundation of this track towards the start. Next, some hard-hitting vibes from the guitars reverberates to some great effect. The vibes simmer for a bit as vocals enter. Back and forth the background vocals oscillate in the backdrop. The music can get a touch busy with a heavy buzzing sound coming from the guitars. Fuzzy guitars take the lead on “I Want You.” The sound that comes together feels very retro in mode. Feeling similar to ‘70s rock n’ roll, the vocals are echo-y. The mixture of female and male vocals made for a dynamic sound. The percussions and psychedelic elements really propel this song. Warbling synths address the start of “Bad Disease.” A bouncy beat also settles in. The scintillating electronic vibes made for a glitchy sound. The vocals expand on this track, creating a very atmospheric sound.
Shimmering guitars add a melodious mode to the intro of “Gods & Monsters.” Bradley’s hushed vocals that nearly come across like a whisper sound out. The vocals here sound more compelling than in the previous sections. The distortion and dissonance give this track an off-kilter vibe. A bouncy beat gives “Bottle Of Filth” a poppy feel. As synths and guitars race in, the vibe feels dark and avant garde. As the breathy vocals enter, you can feel the atmospheric effects really seep in. The grittiness of this track really spoke to me. On “Light Up The Town,” some beats add traction to this song. As the groove grows, some bass settles in. Sparse guitar riffs also sound off. The vocals starkly sound out. The reverb and distortion really add to the effects.
On “Five To One,” alternating synths move in and out of this track towards the start as beats come in. The bass lines in the backdrop are a low hum. The guitar riffs also grow in sound, as the vocals are a heavy drone. This does not let up for the entire duration of the song. This track feels very artsy and very much in the experimental vein. Percussions and hand claps are mixed intermittently in the start of “Slow Burn.” The beats and rhythms keep up the groove in this song. The band show more of their penchant for experimentation on this innovative closer.
Having been described as “a cool mix between Depeche Mode and The Doors,” the band keeps listeners on their toes, blending the unexpected with the familiar. Moving into the realms of psychedelia, dark ambiance, atmospheric and shoegaze, these ten tracks sees the group experimenting with tons of reverb and distorted effects to make a buzzy concoction. Some might feel it a bit numbing as the excessive droning can get a bit busy. Yet the songs are not without structure, as each track builds with distinctive melodies and riffs. The cover art is a snake photo (of public domain) from one of the first series of X-rays ever produced, made by Josef Maria Eder and Eduard Valenta called: “Early Experiments with X-Rays (1896).” Like the snake photo upon first listening to X-Ray Eyes, the band might seem a bit avant garde. But like all things that are avant garde, their emergence might seem shocking at first, but then the shock wears off. I think this band has the ability to go far.
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