It’s great when you hear trip-hop done well, filling the gaps left by Massive Attack et al. SPC ECO (Pronounced Space Echo) do it with feverish charm, and don’t miss a beat. Whilst you are tempted to say ”Hello again 1997 era Portishead, always a pleasure.” they do breathe new life into it, and update it for 2016.
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10/10 Stevieboy Customer review, 26th September 2016
In my house, a call sometimes rings out "there's a new SPC ECO album due out"
Everything grinds to a halt. It's that important. Wallets are opened, previews are previewed.
Yes, if you are looking for an unbiased review, go elsewhere!
Anomalies finds SPC ECO firmly in 'Art of Pop' mode, beautifully crafted dreamy synth pop with lyrical emotion and turmoil as a counterpoint. Following the darker (sorry!) 'Dark Matter' album, this will instantly take you along on a uplifting journey musically while sneakily whispering heartbreaking news in your ear.
Where 'Dark Matter' took you on the same type of journey, more effort was needed as it tended to creep up on you slowly first, each track showcasing surprising twists and turns - 'Anomalies' however has more hooks than a hook factory overproducing their quota of hooks on national hook day - it is 'pop' without shadow of a doubt and personally I could see most of these songs in a chart of some sort, with copies being bought by the general singles chart buying populace (not that music sales charts mean anything anymore).
Multi instrumentalist Dean Garcia has teased some lovely subtle sounds from his synths, his trademark bleeps are still there however, with the echoes, more abrasive noise and of course his hypnotic bass playing, some all very pleasing boxes ticked! Added this time are additional synth and excellent 'loose' live drumming from old Curve stalwart Steve Monti, all in all, the sum of 'Anomalies' parts makes a very pleasing whole indeed.
Then...(of course) there is the voice of Rose Berlin.
Being more of a fan of female vocalists and having followed SPC ECO from the off, Rose's voice was a very obvious draw. As the music has changed and adapted over the years, so Rose's voice has flourished and range and style have been experimented with. Rose can even sound quite beautiful through the vocal fog of vocoder and autotune treatments, how is this possible?
Her vocal style has drawn comparisons with Elizabeth Fraser, Martina Topley-Bird, Beth Gibbons in the higher register on the more 'Trip Hop' sounding tracks, ('Think Twice' in this case on 'Anomalies'). Comparisons are all very well, as Rose's close to mic, breathy, crystal clear, quite ornate vocal style is actually something all of its own.
I wanted to do a track by track breakdown, but struggled, deciding the below would do but ultimately this album is best listened to as a whole piece.
If you have followed SPC ECO along their musical journey then you will realise this is a very beautiful, accessible, complete and accomplished peak to their synth based dream pop musical assault on the senses, first touched upon with the 'Art of Pop' album.
Those who were fans of Dean Garcia's shoegazey output may not 'get' Anomalies... but there is plenty of earlier SPC ECO that does indeed reflect the grittier guitar based sound. I do urge you to give this album a try and check out their download only work and previous physical releases.
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