Pokemon, the internet, Carlton’s jumpers in The Fresh Prince, just three of the many amazing things to have spawned from the 90s. It was certainly an exciting decade for many of us to grow up in, and the massive breeding ground of creative rock bands all over the world was no exception to the sense of adventure. Behind the massive scenes of Grunge and Brit-Pop were a collection of bands who delved in more alternative styles, from the electronic influenced trip-hop grooves of Portishead to the shoegaze stylings legends My Bloody Valentine.
Curve were a band who dabbled in both genres to a select group of adoring fans. The duo made up of instrumentalist Dean Garcia and vocalist Toni Halliday shared 5 albums together before parting ways in 2005. However, Garcia’s return to the music industry proved to be an interesting one with SPC ECO, another duo, this time consisting of Garcia and Rose Berlin, the talented the instrumentalist’s daughter. After various albums and Eps over the past five years, the duo this year release their most anticipated record yet, Sirens & Satellites.
The 90s influence is ever present on Sirens & Satellites with over 70 minutes of long and intense songs that serve to be closely observed or blend into the background of everyday life. Title track Sirens &Satellites provides a perfect combination of cutting beats, fuzz laden guitars, atmospheric synths and soft yet powerful vocals drenched in reverb. Garcia’s knack for creating such vast open spaces in music is as impressive as ever, You’re Cold and epically slow jam of overlapping vocals from Berlin, whose vocals are delightfully delicate throughout the entire album, whilst opening track and lead single Fallen Stars feels like a lusciously delivered mixture of swirling My Bloody Valentine guitars and inviting Joy Formidable melodies.
The album is a collection of 16 impressively captured songs that deserve credit alone for the spacious and textured wall of sound. If the record suffers a failing grace however, it would be its overall sense of similarity and lack of progression. Whilst we are granted a bit of variety on more dance influenced tracks as High On It and Delusional Waste, as well as the strangely lullaby-esque feel of interlude Equestrian Heels, the album falls somewhat short of overall enjoyability. Its very easy to get lost in the murky waters of SPC ECO’s sound and whilst that can work as a charm, the length of the album is perhaps a bit too much to grasp on first listen.
Of course for those listeners looking for an album to read a book along to, have a bath with or perhaps share an intimate moment with someone special, the album would work well but more so as a collection of chilled out songs rather than the kind of album that has you going back for more. The songs themselves are interesting and often very good with the influence of 90s groups like Sneaker Pimps (see LOL The Witch Is Dead) and Slowdive, they just sadly fall under the fate of becoming rather forgettable. For those who want to get well and truly lost in some creatively assembled collection of artistic songs however, you may just want to pick yourself up a copy and pour yourself a bath, scented candles also recommended.