Stellarscope – Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost

Stellarscope – Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost

How would you expect psych-rock veterans Stellarscope to begin their newest album? Opening track “Don’t Belong” growls along in a way that anyone already familiar with their music would recognise almost instantly. The rattling drum sound, hissing electronics and Tom Lugos’ distinctive vocals are all present although as things progress, it seems that the track actually does belong to another Stellarscope/Panophonic release. Perhaps the song was chosen to open the album as a reintroduction of sorts: Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost begins properly with second track “Capsized” a track that seems to have emerged from another studio session entirely. Utilising a sound that relies more on the rhythm section and with an enhanced array of guitar sounds present, Stellarscope in 2017 are a formidable proposition.

After the seemingly retrospective introduction, the album takes off with convincing energies, a reinvigorated Stellarscope sounding altogether more expansive, there is more space between the instruments, plus the electronics possess a quite different tone. It’s a less abrasive, more developed production at work, and as “Capsized” swirls off into fade it seems that Stellarscope are on undeniable form with this release and as the album continues they proceed to dazzle with craftsmanship honed over two decades of making music that draws influence from psych and space-rock, pre and post-punk, songs that contain soaring melodies and crashing guitar pyrotechnics within the space of a single verse. Never ones to merely repeat themselves, each track on Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost shows a different aspect of Stellarscope and their continuously evolving sound.

Third track “Falling” with its spiralling electronica arpeggios and the angular thrash of “Only Strangers Now” don’t seem as if they are entirely the work of the same band, but Stellarscope are doing exactly what they can and, past masters of more or less every sub-genre of alternative music of the last three decades that they are, going from the slow-paced grindcore of “All For You” to the pared-down indie thrash of “So Long”, from the swaggering guitar runs of “You Feel It Too” to the minimalist rhythm and melody of “No Reason Why”. Each of these songs are significantly distanced from each other, and the production gives Stellarscope’s tracks a defining overlay of intense guitar and echoing percussion. The combined effect of this is an unnerving, occasionally startling one.

Patetico