Illuminate – Revolution Above Disorder (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Stephen Nicholas White has a CV that clearly marks him out to be someone to keep a close eye on. As Stevie Moonboots and through a string of bands, from The Orange Kyte and House of Dolls to The Subterranean Satellite Band and Magic Shoppe, he has carved an alternative and post-punk swathe through the musical landscape from a base, first of all in Dublin and relocated to Vancouver.

And, despite his adventurous creative past, with Revolution above Disorder, he is directing his efforts down a more ordered postpunk meets psychedelic channel, and certainly one where a raw rock sonics are tempered by synth washes, cool and clinical drum machines and cavernous instrumentation into a more deliberate and meticulously crafted sound.

Like so many other musicians, the effect of Covid and the subsequent lockdowns meant that any future plans with Orange Kyte were put on hold and the hiatus gave him time to think about who he was musically and where it was all going. He found that on reflection he was, to some degree, dissatisfied with what he was doing as a musician and decided to revisit older demos and abandoned ideas. “I grew interested in the idea of this modern-day version of myself collaborating with my chaotic and directionless former self. I wanted to finish what I’d started many years prior. ‘‘Illuminate’ was the first one I needed to record,” 

And the result is glorious. A raw and spikey, yet perfectly paced, poised and produced track. One that wanders alt-rock back streets, follows them down shoegazing tangents and heads off with them into slightly shaded, gothic byways.

A fresh start in some ways, perhaps, but it is clear that this is music that has been built by standing on the shoulders of those who have come before him. Although in this case, that also happens to be his own, younger self.

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