Northern transmissions reviews Strange Pleasures from Still Corners

Artist: Still Corners
Title:Strange Pleasures
Record Label: Sub Pop
Rating: 7.5/10

A couple of years ago Still Corners’ noir pop would have been classified by whichever fabricated sub-sub music genre any music hack could dream up, nightbus? Witchhouse? Chillwave? Whatever! Thankfully the need to pigeonhole any group making sparse, lo-fi electronica has subsided. Now comes the tricky part of how to label the sound of Still Corners’ new record, Strange Pleasures. With a gun against our heads we’d say folktronica, due the layers of digital sonics and the acoustic strums that make up the pairs sophomore effort. The synths on the duos’ new LP are the prominent feature but ultimately the backbone of the twosome’s latest opus is stripped back guitar work. Let’s not forget the effortless, vapor like voice that Tessa Murray produces. Strange Pleasures is the perfect marriage of the synthetic and the organic working in harmony.

Lynchpin to the whole project, Greg Hughes is a slave to his art commenting recently that he is never satisfied and that with Still Corners he always wants to try new things. It’s this constant striving hunger that makes Strange Pleasures such an absorbing listen. This isn’t an attention seeking record, this is a piece of work that lays down musical breadcrumbs and beckons you closer with every wave of electronic fuzz. There is also a raw intimacy that comes with Hughes’ new LP; ‘I Can’t Sleep’ is an ethereal coo of misty digital missives which cloak Tessa Murray’s solitary vocal. The simple “don’t know if I can sleep with out you?” coda at the tracks finale acts like an isolated call for the warmth of another human being. ‘Midnight Drive’ is another personal vignette delivered by Murray’s elusive tones and Hughes’ digital production. This in an atmospheric voyage through the twilight hours akin to you and a loved one venturing into the night with no chosen destination in mind but the reassurance you’ve got that special someone by your side.

Hughes has also remarked that although the pair’s debut, Creatures Of An Hour garnered a future/retro appeal, Strange Pleasures doesn’t boast this aesthetic. Sorry to disagree with the head honcho here but there are elements of this second release that shimmer with retro-futuristic schtick. ‘Berlin Lovers’ channels the ethos of the man machines Kraftwerk with bubbling synth lines and motorik beats, notably ‘Future Age’ sounds like the sort of electronic concoction the Germans would have made back in the day, if that day they were inspired by the nostalgic faded neon romance of Tokyo.

Still Corners through all their tinkering and OCD work ethic have spawned a record fitting of its chosen moniker; engrossingly strange and intricately pleasurable.

Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams

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