A claustrophobic exhale
Rose Berlin and Dean Garcia have been making music as SPC ECO for a while but started 2020 with a new project. Each month they seem to be putting out a new EP to chronicle the year. May’s EP will therefore, in theory, give a great insight into how the duo are thinking and feeling during the coronavirus lockdown. I find this type of thinking fascinating and SPC ECO are a great experiment in real-time creation.
The mix of alt-rock, dream pop and darkwave is what draws me into the duo’s music and this EP features some of their most claustrophobic and distorted work in a while. Whilst making densely compacted synth loops and heavy basslines to grind through, the delicate edges of some of the tracks remain lighter and more positive. ‘You Got This’ opens the EP with some positive lyrics, melodic tunes and a zippy trip-hop beat. It is the clearest and direct track on the album, almost as if at the beginning of the month there is a wave of positive attitude and some determination to keep going as the music clouds around you. That drops with the genius ‘When You’re A Liar’ hits. It purposefully repeats the same chord pattern over and over and the beat thumps away like a sped-up clock. It feels fluffy and dreamlike on the surface but is racked with tension underneath.
‘So Much Better’ is the angry track of the EP. Its brash industrial synths, wailing electric guitar and punchy beats evoke the origins of Curve, where Dean Garcia played before. The lyrics ‘come together as we’re so much better as one’ could just be saucy but it also reminds me of the repetitive mantra of the UK Government. I can’t decide if this is sarcastic, pointed or earnest but its the darkest, most brooding piece on the EP and carefully placed behind a liar track. Maybe I’m projecting… The EP closes with the creepy downtempo ‘Wish You Were Dead’. Here Rose’s vocals are squeezed into a distortion machine to sound like a guitar wail. It is a track designed to feel empty and lonely and it certainly gives off that vibe.
Whilst it is not the best place to start with SPC ECO, I find the whole one EP a month challenge interesting. April’s EP was an invigorating dancefest. This is a lethargic darker place where the inner mind is unravelling. I’m now invested in seeing how June’s EP will reflect the month of May and so on as the world dramatically shifts around us. Rock, electronica, darkwave and pop-noir fans should definitely come along for the ride.
Recommended track: When You’re A Liar
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