Stalking Horse – Specters

Stalking horse. For once, the name defines the sound perfectly. Devious, not entirely showing the true colours and with an army of scapegoats ready to sacrifice in case all goes topsy turvy. Specters is all over the place that a slightly distorted and unsettling voice takes us too, like a siren luring sailors to their death (just noticed them in the cover, subliminals ahoy, whoa!)

It’s hard to define. It has that indie electronica sound (‘Waterhole’ sounds a bit MGMT, a bit TheFutureEmbraace-era Billy Corgan) but at the same time, it has the remaining 19 fingers (I’m counting the toes) in a dreamier pie, with bits of post-rock and ambient stuff (like the gorgeous ‘The Creeps’).

Even at its most organic (‘Doctor a heart’), Stalking Horse has a lot of processing in its sound. It doesn’t take away from it at all, but it might put off a few people. Mind you, even the harshest critic couldn’t say anything bad about the endearing ‘Heathen Head, Howling Heart’, a sweet ditty that veers into pop, but the well made, heart in hand pop, which is sorely missed right now. ‘The dawn is the father of the sun’ (grandiose title!) is another gorgeous bit of pop, but this one has rock fangs.

There’s a bit of old school electronica for all you who love the era and miss a bit of a revival. ’99 stairs’ is deliciously droney, with an infectious beat and a tribalesque rhythm. ‘Mistress’ feels like its longing for something, with that piano that wistfully dances with us.

Specters, ah, it’s the fifth time I’ve listened to this album in a week and I still don’t know what tag to put in it. Maybe that’s says it all, how Stalking Horse have their own sound, the sound of sunny afternoons with a few leaves flying away to parts unknown.

Words: Sam J. Valdés López

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