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Stumbleine Releases Spiderwebbed on Monotreme Records

Each song has a GQ atmosphere to them. Highly sophisticated, fragile in their own sense and post-modern sterile in production, there is something equally intriguing and frightening to these songs.

Every so often a dream pop album comes along that will attract your attention and make you realize, once again, why the genre is so tantalizing. Spiderwebbed is that album.

While so many artists are importing elements of psych into their dream pop structure, Bristol’s Stumbleine looks more towards an early ’90s blend of Trip Hop and alternative daze to fuel these songs. From Massive Attack and the ambient side of Moby to elements of Kate Bush and Cocteau Twins with R&B tinges that lean into Sade territory, there is a silky satisfaction to these songs.

Each song has a GQ atmosphere to them. Highly sophisticated, fragile in their own sense and post-modern sterile in production, there is something equally intriguing and frightening to these songs.

With an almost existentialist portrayal “The Beat of My Heart Skips” is the first song on the album that features vocals. Before that, you have three songs that expand and explore a linear shape of light-textured layering with samples and electronica with blurry-eyed guitars raining down like glitter. These songs create a soft pulse that mesmerize in the after glow of deep eroticism and confident openness.

“Capulet” may feel like that high-end commercial with product interpretation you are not quite sure of, it’s when we get to CoMa’s vocals that make the impression more convoluted. In the dark clutches of the night, she reiterates over again to breath. Subconsciously time stands still and you feel the embrace of each second of this song.

The other song that features vocals is Steffaloo’s cover of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You.” It’s an obvious choice for Stumbleine’s style, but not necessarily the right one in the context of the song itself. He takes the spiraling cavalcade of acoustic serenade and replaces it with a more bouncy beat that lags with just enough time to make this song feel lazy. It’s a shame because Steffaloo’s vocals are spot on to compliment Mazzy Star’s creation. I would have been more comfortable with an original.

Where Stumbleine shines is his far reaching instrumentals that will turn your mind inside out. “Honey Comb” does it well if not delicately so. He likes to incorporate an almost chant-like effect to his electronic dissidence. If not for the Hip Hop beat giving the song a sense of movement, you would swear this song got lost in a Stars of the Lid continuum.

But that’s as far as it goes. If you’ve heard “Solar Flare” then you heard “Kaleidascope.” If you enjoyed “If You,” then you will enjoy “The Corner of Her Eye.” And not that it’s a bad thing. Stumbleine has latched on to something that he is good at, and in the end, he does it very well. He brings to the surface a fantasy stems from everyone’s imagination whether it is alternate worlds, the climate inside the city, or the thoughts inside your mind.

Andrew Duncan
Dug out from a pile of zines and hot sauce, Andrew Duncan has contributed to many publications through the years, including Chord and work with the ever so spunky Readyset...Aesthetic! He now resides deep within your membrane.

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