StereoBird is a Brooklyn-based art-rock instrumental band who released their latest single “Illuminated” on the 31st of December. Their last two singles have both been compelling entries into their genre. The music here on their latest single is both more aggressive and more subtle than on previous records. Don’t think that’s possible? It is. The track is gritty and muscular, as StereoBird hit their ideas hard. “Illuminated” is an expansive beast, with crushing, killer guitar riffs, and a terrific, driving arrangement featuring a number of ideas and turgid basslines.
“Illuminated” is ripe with atmosphere, opening with walls of guitar and an urgent, uplifting feel throughout. It has an abrasive and grinding façade topped with plenty of interlacing melodic motifs. StereoBird have created a meticulous and propulsive record littered with intention. Atmospheric and palpable energy permeates the track and rarely relaxes its grip. The crushing depth of the overdriven chord progressions is perfectly contrasted by the clear melody lines.
“Illuminated” succeeds in evoking a response from the listener as all good art should do. Moreover, the track is as enjoyable as much as it is interesting. Barging through 2020, and into2021, StereoBird maintains their instrumental style in an era driven by powerhouse lead vocalists. Their chunky textures and twinkly sections are expertly balanced to create bold, arresting music.
What’s especially cool is that StereoBird run a gauntlet of impacting sounds and techniques; they lurk, they strike, the guitars crunch and immerse, the track is alternatively swift and ponderous. The band sounds alive and excited to be playing. Everything hangs together very well, cemented by the imperious sound of the guitars.
Pushing upwards inexorably, moving through grinding riffs, “Illuminated” bursts into a wandering and wistful exploration. Constantly moving around the basslines, the track is buoyed on the back of a blasting drumbeat. Suffused with prevailing movement, the guitars skitter and scrape, looping into a gigantic wave of sound, while opening out into the track’s broader scope.
Dripping with energy, packed with skill and ideas, on “Illuminated”, StereoBird assuredly open another chapter in their musical narrative. While the building blocks of the band’s sound are firmly in place, here they are used to create new architecture. Working without a vocalist forces StereoBird to think creatively about their song structures. With an expressive, albeit crunching, musical aesthetic, they are able to shroud their sound in rich atmospherics.
Purely instrumental records may be difficult to pull off, but StereoBird has more than enough creativity and muscle to show how well it can be done. By combining everything that was present in their repertoire to begin with, as well the addition of new ideas and a dash of experimentation, StereoBird have succeeded in producing a more than solid piece of art-rock that crosses over into post-rock.
Overall, StereoBird’s sound on “Illuminated” is invigorating. The song rocks out and glides under interweaving melodic motifs which fill our minds with imperative questions about ourselves, our society, and the universe as a whole.