Physical Business – Stonerpop (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

PrintIt’s very easy to listen to electro-pop and try to draw a thread back to earlier post-punk pioneers. But choosing to wield synths as your musical weapons of choice doesn’t make you Depeche Mode, in the same way that painting a landscape doesn’t mean that you are just trying to be Constable. Stonerpop is certainly all about making synth driven alt-pop music for the here and now rather than any act of rose-tinted, backward glancing, nostalgia trips and Physical Business feels like a whole new chapter, the beginning of a new part of the story of contemporary music in its own right.

Just listen to Human Nature, a deft blend of sultry grooves, emotive soundscapes and cascading violins, a fantastic blend of modern, left field, slick EDM and timeless classical sweeps This song alone is enough to underline the bands forward thinking approach. The title track is a sunburst of brassy electronica over brooding low end bass and beat, gradually turning into a throbbing industrial beast as the song builds and Headglow is a pulsing platform of sound upon which the vocals wander between dense and dark deliveries and staccato stabs. In short, this is all new, this is all original, this is all great.

Yes, this is pop music, at least at its core but it winds so many jagged edges, such industrial weight, brooding and bruised beats around itself that the label seems slightly misleading. Then again, the bands name is as good a reference as any, it conveys something of the intensity, the down beat undercurrents and the dark heart that it beats with. Even at its most crystalline and chiming moments, such as Game Over (I Remember) it drips with otherness, ethereality and displays a very different mindset to anything that has gone before. It looks like electro-pop is back with a vengeance, but cast aside all images of the Day-Glo pop posing of the past and the frothy dance floor anthems of yesteryear, this time it seems to have a score to settle.

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