[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Dean and Rose make a spectacular hard left turn into a new arena of sound with their latest, the tempo slows almost to a stop and the atmospheres become so overpowering they nearly knock you out. Now previously they’d sparkled and shined through artful pop but here in this isolated and remote locale we find them stretching out and letting their hair down; when they were picking album titles they surely must have known this would be the one. ‘Dark Matter’ borders on trip-hop but it doesn’t go full on torch song in any of the tracks you’ll hear. Rose has many things to let us know about and few of them sound positive. Interpersonal betrayals and backstabbing treachery appear to be the order of the day with Dean composing what can only be called menace to accompany her words.
SPC ECO have really hit their marks this time around and indeed, over the last couple of albums have become more and more assured. They name no names and offer up little in the way of influence; this has always been how Dean Garcia has written music and now even here where the sun is choked out by thick, rolling clouds of magnificent bass you cannot help but sing along. For how sedate people expected this one to be it has remarkable groove with devilishly placed beats accentuating Rose’s dynamic delivery. What’s more,this record is lengthy with not one note wasted and nothing cluttering up the field. I’d like to see the in house production teams the majors have try to match what I’m hearing here. Just try not to embarrass yourselves too much, little ones.
Somewhere between the small hours and dawn with the dew still clinging to roadside fauna viewed from inside your sleek vehicle with the undertaker glass barreling down the motorway… that’s the setting and these are the pieces to get you there. One sits in silence hearing a song like “Meteor”, unable to muster the courage to interrupt. I know what they’ve done with ‘Dark Matter’ is probably a one-off but goddamn what an excursion this is. Right into the heart of darkness with these two as your pilots; just sit back and try to relax as the intent and tone of what is on here may tempt you into an uneasy sleep.
Yet somehow you’re wide awake.
‘Dark Matter’ glistens and glows like an immaculate Opal lurking in it’s own corner of shadowy contemplation; you’ll have to wait for your eyes to adjust in order to perceive it but once you do my friends, it will pull you in with an undeniably seductive ease. Much like words whispered with the promise of discrete indiscretion; their fulfillment achingly just out of reach… and so we play this again and again.
Through headphones these are even more disturbingly complex and reveal an entire terrarium of fiendish delights. More effects and even more dynamics have somehow been broken out of the SPC ECO arsenal to deliver maximum damage to unwary speakers so watch out. I did this and could feel as well as hear my monitors bulging at the seams trying to keep up as the gain increased. This is very much an in-the-ear sort of release, something to put the Cochlea through it’s paces with. It is definitely worth your while to track this down and lucky lucky us the band themselves have put it up for sale through their Bandcamp. These two are waging a guerrilla-style campaign against musical lethargy and wear their DIY approach like a badge of honor; don’t scoff at it, they’ve managed to get signed yet again to a label and have a new album in the can for 2016.
I’m hopeful they’ll get the recognition they deserve. They have certainly earned it.