The third EP from synth dream-pop extraordinaires Stereo Off is an eclectic mix which is as disorienting as it is endearing. The five-piece weave through a variety of genres, from ambient synth to dream pop, to electronic dance, and back again. Although at times frustrating to listen to, it is definitely an admirable approach to creating music- an approach which sets them apart.
The first 34 seconds of the opening track ‘Sunsetting’ sounds more like a product of Peep Show’s Jez and Super Hans’ various musical endeavours than an EP opener; but is an interesting choice for single release. Although potentially not Stereo Off’s best work – with its occasionally generic lyrics and oddly placed saxophone melodies – it still provides an interesting experience for listeners. Confusing as it is, this opener certainly sets the tone for the rest of the album – a five track mix which takes inspiration from various pop and dance experimentations of previous decades.
The band’s obscure amalgamation of electronic, indie and synth-pop is undeniably experimental, with noticeable variations from one minute to the next, let alone song to song. ‘Wolves’ delivers a feel-good tune, which renders it one of the more accessible songs of the album. ‘Venir’, though possibly bordering on dated, pays homage to 80s/90s era dance music – and provides the listener with an intriguing auditory trip into the past.
‘Disaster Plan’ is arguably the strongest track on the EP. With a strong emphasis on lyrics, it channels a catchy, Everything Everything type vibe. ‘Ordinary Lives’ is unfortunately a gradual fade to an end for what is definitely an interesting record; not providing the experimentation enjoyed on previous tracks, but not doing anything particularly interesting in a more concrete electronic setting either. For fans of Everything Everything, Theme Park and psychedelic drugs, EP III delivers something slightly different with every listen, and every listener.