Tuesday, 22nd August 2017. 10:46:12am ET
Reviews CD Reviews Synthpop, New Wave Stochastic Theory- Opposite Extremes


ARTIST: Stochastic Theory

ALBUM: Opposite Extremes

LABEL: Sonic Mainline Discs

REVIEWER: Matthew J.

DATE: 7-4-07

Stochastic Theory- Opposite Extremes

Stochastic Theory are a rare combination: a synthpop band that is not only talented, but bears no real resemblance to Depeche Mode. On their latest album, the band combines modern electro breakbeats, elements of classical piano, and even a subtle hint of goth pop guitar, a la Clan of Xymox. Programmer and singer Chuck Spencer's vocal approach is an emotive but reedy tenor, less like Dave Gahan than the Pet Shop Boys' Neal Tenant or Real Life's David Sterry, but it serves him well here, and brilliant layering and reverb effects on "No Illusions" and "Here" provide extra depth where need be. A thorough understanding of modern rhythmic techniques helps to keep things current, and the beats on this album range from thumping progressive house on "Simple Choices" to funky breaks on "Conditional." "Price of a Lifetime" even goes so far as to insert some glitch weirdness in the vein of Aphex Twin, though the rich synthesized harmonies of the chorus keep things from getting too abstract. If the beats draw on techno and house influences, the melody arrangements look farther back in the past for inspiration, as exemplified by the dark piano chords of "All These Walls" and the bouncing strings of a clever cover of REM's "Losing My Religion." Though Spencer is more than capable of cranking out whimsical synth progressions, as he does on "Don't Speak," the hints of chamber music give Stochastic Theory's sound a depth that's often lacking in synthpop. Throw it all together, and this CD is mandatory listening not only to synthpop aficionados, but anyone with an interest in contemporary electronic music.

Visit www.stochastictheory.com for song samples and other information.


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