Friday, 21st September 2018. 10:37:21am ET
Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock Stimulator- Stimulator

 


Artist: Stimulator
CD Title: Stimulator
Label: Stimulator Records
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 12/18/04

Consisting of former Pillbox frontwoman Susan Hyatt and Snake River Conspiracy guitarist Geoff Tyson, Stimulator is a collaboration with a noteworthy past and, judging by their work, a promising future. Their self-titled debut blends quirky retro new wave elements and 90s/modern electro-rock into a catchy, upbeat concoction that's part Garbage, part Elastica, and a smaller part Veruca Salt with some modern No Doubt and maybe a little Duran Duran thrown in for good measure. For the kids out there, think the catchy new wave infused alt rock of The Killers with a female vocalist or some of the more alt rock/new wave oriented material on Gwen Stefani's recent solo debut for something of a sonic/formulaic reference if not an apt stylistic one. Overall, it's a great formula that's filled out by strong performances, notably good songwriting, and major label quality production.

Most of the material here balances perfectly between alt rock and electronic, sometimes tipping the scales in one direction or the other. For instance, "On Top of the World" slides more in the guitar-oriented alt rock direction, while the standout "Mixed Signals" is an infectious slice of straightforward up-tempo electro-pop complete with the occasional vocoded vocal line. The opening "78 Stimulator" is another highlight with one of the album's most memorable chorus hooks, featuring layered vocals and a melodic style reminiscent of Veruca Salt or perhaps The Breeders. "Feeling Alright" and "Let's Hook Up" are both excellent, the former an upbeat rocker with an outstanding chorus melody and the latter a modern alterna-pop number built around a killer funky synth bass line. "How Far Would You Go? (Die for Me)" provides the disc's heaviest moment, fusing a funky foundation with great semi-industrial guitar riffing. The following "Fame Is Lame", on the other hand, is a slightly faster guitar/bass-driven number that throws off an early-mid 90s alt rock vibe.

"In My System", a steady up-tempo track with synth brass and some nice guitar work, is another noteworthy offering that recalls Subhuman-era Garbage, while "Magic" is a slower, slightly offbeat number that's far from the album's best albeit still fairly decent. "New Vampire", easily the disc's least exceptional track, perhaps shows that the band is slightly out of their element when shooting for mellower alt rock piano ballad territory. The closing "My Beautiful Muse", however, rebuts that sentiment with a far better attempt that owes much of it's success to some great atmospheric murky slide guitar.

The disc also includes a bonus multimedia section with something of a press kit movie with interviews, concert footage and video clips, band info, etc. It's presented as a Quicktime file that, while pretty blocky, is also amusing and informative. There's also a video for "On Top of the World" there, but I can't really comment on it seeing as how it showed up without a file extension on my computer and gave me a few problems. That's technology for you.

Overall, while the album flashes by in a mere 38 minutes, it's a pretty solid and worthwhile 38 minutes that cuts out the filler and gets right to the point. While one or two tracks may warrant the skip button after a few listens, most of what you'll find here is exceptionally strong, consistent, infectious, and just begging to be put on repeat play. If you're a fan of new wave/alt rock hybrids or 90s/modern electronic-infused alt rock, Stimulator's self-titled debut is highly recommended.

 

Stimulator website: www.stimulatorband.com

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