Former Curve member Dean Garcia has been ratcheting out a new album with daughter Rose Berlin pretty much every year since SPC ECO formed in 2009. This is my first encounter with them and not a moment too soon.
Fifteen manages to combine shoegaze and trip-hop to create an experience of an album that deserves to be listened to in a single sitting without distractions to feel the full effect.
From opener Fading Out Of Time to epic closer Little Ones Out Of Time Mix, you are taken on a dream-like journey. The use of muffled drum lines and bass, the processed angelic vocals of Berlin, and the feedback – oh the feedback – give you the effect of having taken something seriously strong before bedtime.
The influences of 90’s trip-hop are clear to see. Massive Attack is clearly in their record collection, while Berlin’s vocal style bears an uncanny resemblance to Portishead’s Beth Gibbons.
There’s shoegaze to be found beyond the simple feedback, with some nice buzzy guitars in The Heart and Soul and standout track Breathing.
There are also some more oppressive songs, which at times can make you feel like you’re being smothered with a pillow. Fortunately, Berlin’s vocals keep it from becoming too overbearing.
From a critical perspective, this is a long album and many of the songs, as you progress, struggle to differentiate themselves. But as an overall experience it washes over you and takes you to another place.
Find a quiet spot, stick on the best headphones you can find, and let this cracker of a record take you far, far, away.
Release date: 15 February 2019
Standout track: Breathing
For fans of:
- Massive Attack