Quite a dynamic mix of influences and sounds on this second effort from New York’s Stereo Off. The Long Hot Winter is five songs of diversity, melody and some of the best production standards I’ve heard in years. The balance and mix of everything is just right – guitars, drums, a throbbing bass, crisp vocals and bubbly synthesizers make a heady stew and gets you in its grasp immediately. It has that vintage sound but the quality is in the now.
Starting with “Hotel Mirror”, my first impression is an updated take on what The Human League were doing back in 1982; subsequently, “Automated” made me think of the better tracks by the League’s counterparts, Heaven 17 – audioscapes with funky guitars and multi-layered vocals. Do I wax nostalgic? Indeed I do, and enjoying every musical morsel this young band offers. “Supercooler” spins it in a different direction; heavy on the drums and faster on the tempo in a mixture of Wire/Gang Of Four styles (albeit less abrasive) and “Redesign” rolls it all together, especially with the heavy riff and the bite of the percussion – intense and high-energy.
It’s early on in the year and this is already a very fast favorite. Granted, I have an affection for this sound; this kind of music. But the fact that it’s done by musicians at least 25 years younger than me makes me glad that they’re out there; they’ve found these influences and they’re doing what they do. Stereo Off? No, turn it up!
The Long Hot Winter is available now