Stereo Off: Those Sexy Devils
Each track is a surprise on the debut EP by New York native five-piece indie band Stereo Off. And that is how an EP should be: a synthesis of musical aspirations and talents, a widely eclectic ensemble which enthralls listeners, yet compact and readable enough to avoid alienating them. Displays of technique will impress, authenticity infused in carefully crafted melodies and lyrics will ring and resonate, all leaving a durable impression.
Stereo Off’s EP proves to be a virtuosic feat, not because it pretends to reinvent a genre or create a new one, but because it shines with sheer lightness while being content-heavy. Fusing with brio a wide range of sonorities, going from punk rock to electro, not once skipping a beat, these New Yorkers are ambiance creators, painting with each song a picture whose ever-changing tones dazzle. And that is this matchless equilibrium between light and heavy, the technical wealth versus the groovy, at times sexy touches and nuances that render this EP a thrill to experience. Stereo Off’s exploratory mind is manifest on this record, and unquestionably places them within the realm of other fast-rising alternative formations whose prolific creative efforts ultimately bear fruit.
The EP commences with “Photographs” and its heavy bass lines and low-pitched vocals; a song groovy and sensuous designed to be savored piecemeal. “Bullet Time” steps up the glamorous vibe by featuring a higher-pitched voice, distorted guitars and pop electro undertones, which third track “Effectual” is replete of. The song, vaguely reminiscent of electrofunk band Chromeo, another New York-based formation, is a dancing hymn, whose haunting beats will ravage dance floors worldwide. “The Thrill” veers into yet another direction, favoring the intimist atmosphere of indie films, all close-up and personal, and is strewn with melancholic guitars and synths, making us girls want to crawl up against unbathed boys. The last song of the EP, titled “MI6”, is nicely punk rock featuring abrasive vocals and lyrics, and proves to be yet another great surprise on this singular record. While it seems it would have more logical to conclude this EP with “The Thrill,” Stereo off chooses instead to diverge and indulge in their unquenchable thirst for experimentation and serves us with a wild and raging song whose mixed emotions will leave listeners pondering, waiting and wanting for more.
Stereo Off is a true band in the sense that each member is given an uncensored voice; all talents and abilities are purposefully engaged, nothing wasted, but all transformed into something pleasant and alluring. Stereo Off evidently steers clear of big hit formulas yet has managed to create enough harmony within to produce something that is cool, different, and tremendously fun. And those are the ingredients of success: a desire to explore and innovate combined with talent and openness. Stereo Off possesses all the keys; let’s hope the doors will keep wide open.