I have known James for a few years now, having met him online back in the days of using Reason (which he still uses from time to time, at least as far as I know, and I’ve since completely ditched). He was also one of the factors in me ending up with Studio One as my DAW, so when he asked me if I wanted to write a review of their EP “Come Back Home” I said yes (surprise!).
Stereospread is Sara Snyder and James Hopkins, and I guess the most common genre for their music is synthpop. The songs on their SoundCloud page has a few tags attached to them, like “dreampop”, “electropop” and my personal favorite (which I’m pretty sure must be made up); “shoegaze”. 😛
My main reason for liking music in this genre is that it reminds me of the 80’s, which we all know had awesome music (admittedly I think it might help being a child of the 80’s). But let’s get on with it the actual review, instead of getting lost in the wonderful world of 80’s music. 🙂
Actually before we begin I should probably tell you that the EP is free to download (with the option to pay what you want), so getting your hands on it is really rather easy. Just head on over to their Bandcamp page and you’re merely a few clicks away from having the EP.
Come Back Home
The EP starts off a tad melancholy with “Come Back Home” and then kind of progress from that into the final song, “We Will Never Be This Young Again”, which is quite joyful, reminiscent of thinking back to a Summer in your teens, when you didn’t have a care in the world. It’s also my favorite song on the EP, which might be because it’s the happiest song of the 3 found on it. 🙂
“We Will Never Be This Young Again” is crafted much like a normal pop song, but kept very synthpop-y (hey, it is the genre of the music!), which just means it kind of triggers those 80’s memories in my head (albeit I wasn’t a teen back then). It’s a feel-good song that conveys the emotion very well, which is exactly what music should do.
The middle song, “God’s Own Children”, is quite soulful, with a pinch of etherealism (that’s a word, right?) to it, and sort of sits between the two other songs in terms of happiness and melancholy.
The song is mainly driven by Sara’s vocals, which gives it that ethereal feeling. For me the song has a sad streak to it, but equal amounts of hope as well. It’s a good mix and it works well!
The first song (because around these parts we apparently review things in reverse), “Come Back Home”, is, as mentioned, a bit melancholy if you ask me. It has a degree of sadness and hope to it as “God’s Own Children”, but probably a bit more sadness than hope.
It’s a nicely flowing song and I feel the piano plays well along with Sara’s vocals, helping to drive the tone of song.
The sonic quality of the EP isn’t bad, but does leave a little room for improvement. One of my main issues it that Sara’s vocals can sometimes lose a bit of the focus I feel they should have, or be hard to really hear (understand) because of “smearing” through effects (probably most noticeable in “God’s Own Children”).
I also feel that it lacks some warmth, while there doesn’t appear to be any harshness or straining present in the mix, a bit more warmth and body/glue I think would help quite a bit.
Regardless of that the EP still sounds good and you won’t have any issues enjoying it. 🙂
But wait, there’s more!
The review of the EP isn’t all, so let’s continue on with a review of their single “My Final Refuge”.
This is sort of borderline ambient synthpop (that’s a genre, right?). It’s a slow song with a nice guitar track that I quite enjoy. Sara’s vocals drive the song wonderfully and everything else nicely wraps around them to just help get the message through.
Of the 4 songs this is probably my favorite one. It’s not particularly happy, but more soulful and hopeful. Overall it’s a really nice song and would be an excellent candidate for the ending track on an album or EP – it’s a nice way to close out a musical journey at least. 🙂
Stereospread is certainly a band to check out if you’re interested in synthpop. Even if you aren’t, check them out anyway, you never know if you might like it. If you don’t there’s no harm done. 🙂
So where can you find more Stereospread and connect with them? Easily, use these links: