Stellarscope – Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost

Evocatively invasive and seductive from its first to last breath, Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost is the new album from US outfit Stellarscope. Shaped by rousing yet darkly suggestive rhythms and driven by emotion strapped melodies within cinematically hued atmospherics, the release consumes as it ignites ears and imagination from pretty much its opening and seemingly intimate contemplation of “the pain of loss and the fear of an uncertain future.”

The creative union of vocalist/bassist/guitarist Tom Lugo and drummer Bob Forman, the band expanding with bassist/keyboardist Rob DeFlaviis and guitarist Edward Neenan live, Philadelphia hailing Stellarscope weave walls of sound from a relentlessly infectious blend of post punk, indie rock, shoegaze and more. Their music and songs devour the senses but simultaneously reveal a lively and eventful character which has the body bouncing and thoughts weaving, reactions fully inspired by Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost.

The album opens up with Don’t Belong and instantly has ears enthralled through a deep bass groove amidst boisterous beats as the guitar shares its fuzzy enterprise. The addition of Lugo’s voice, a delivery as warm as it is melancholic, enriches the swift coaxing and equally seems to spur a thicker scuzzy hue in the sounds around him. There is a sense of emotional desperation at times in his vocal presence too as his words reflect and explore in the fall-out of lost love. Richly captivating, like a fusion of My Bloody Valentine and Artery, the haunting trespass gets things off to a powerful and impressive start.

The following Capsized only builds on that compelling invitation, instantly gripping intrigue and a full welcome with its own distinct lure of beats and bass before opening up into a controlled stroll with moments of fever led by Lugo’s again easy to consume vocal presence. With essences of bands such as A Place To Bury Strangers and Slowdive in its instinctively catchy canter, the song is a smooth collision of emotional drama and sonic infection sparking body and appetite before Falling with its mellower gait and sultry climate offers a cosmic caress come intimately involving suffocation, one as funky and seductive as it is emotionally shadowy. As in the first, Forman’s rhythmic rock ‘n’ roll prowess is anthemic and manipulative of body and spirit whilst Lugo’s guitar and bass enterprise conjures similar involvement of emotions and thoughts with its contrasting yet mutually tempting tides of suggestiveness.

The thumping beats of Forman has speakers and body romping within a whisper of a breath as Only Strangers Now steps up next; his controlled but driving exploits alone irresistible bait. The tenacious rhythmic incitement is skilfully wrapped with a Joy Division seeded tone though that too has real liveliness to its solemn wash with vocals just as energetically flirtatious. Taking best track honours on the first listen, the band’s recent single sets up the more emotionally intense All For You perfectly, the following song’s laid back reflection fuelled atmosphere part House Of Love, part My Bloody Valentine but with the underlying sonic causticity found in Jesus And Mary Chain. Hypnotic and ghostly with a great concussive essence in its rhythmic touch, the track is another full immersion of ears and imagination within Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost.

So Long brings another accelerated charge and climate with its infectious adventure straight after; its cinematic and heavy atmosphere seeded in second and third album era of The Cure though melodically Ride come to mind while You Feel It Too has more of a synth pop meets noise rock meets fuzzy shoegaze serenade for the listener to explore though as with all songs, what emerges has only the Stellarscope persona all over it. Both songs leave rich pleasure a lingering memory with the first especially prone to lingering in thoughts with its tenacious escapade.

Both Nothing To Me and No Reason Why capture the imagination with ease, the first a fuzzy smog of sound and emotional openness fuelled by Forman’s ever voraciously infectious rhythms  while its successor is a slower and darker enveloping of the senses with its own alluring radiance and plaintive shadows. Though neither quite match up to those before for personal tastes they each only enrich and strengthen the depths and enjoyment of the album with the second arguably offering the release’s most intense and intriguing moment.

Completed by the raw and almost disarming This Is How It Ends with its seductively cloaked and richly enticing stark climate and emotion, Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost is one compelling adventure from start to finish which only grows with every listen. There are numerous essences and textures which go onto the band’s adventurous sound but as suggested, all woven into something if not fully unique as close as you would wish.

Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost is out now through Patetico Recordings @ https://pateticorecordings.bandcamp.com/album/standing-in-the-shadow-of-your-ghost

https://www.facebook.com/Stellarscope-42638364841/

Pete RingMaster 13/06/2017

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