For most bands it is difficult to stand out in the world of post-rock or post-punk, not least because of how easy it is to fall into the repeated clichés that usually are so synonymous with the genre. Brooklyn-based collective StereoBird has been around long enough to have transcended these limitations through radical experimentation and creativity with textures and tone as well as pushing the boundaries of their songwriting and structure, a lot of which we head on their previous release, “Illuminated”. Now on their brand new single, the band cover the track “Insight”, originally released by Joy Division on their 1979 album “Unknown Pleasures”.
The original song was true to singer-songwriter Ian Curtis’ dour perspective on life, which always reflected desolation and alienation. On “Insight”, he seemed to have taken another step back from life, realizing that everything he put his heart and soul into, may very well have been of no significance. This made him nostalgic of the innocent and uneducated joys of youth, for as a growing man he seemed to see death staring at him from every corner, until he no longer feared it. Eventually taking his own life.
StereoBird’s version of “Insight”, is obviously void of voice and lyrics, so they rely on the instrumentation to convey the devastating and complex emotions of Ian Curtis’ insights into the meaning of life…and ultimately death.
The band craft a distinctive atmosphere and powerful character that balance the layered textural work of the keys, with the crunch of ringing guitars. The band dial in the overdrive, focusing on the bombastic dissonance which gives the climaxes an impact that strikes deeply.
StereoBird eschews the classic soft-loud aesthetic of post-rock, and move into the loud-louder plateau, ticking all the boxes for engrossingly epic shape-shifting. The result is a song that doesn’t simply tease or tempt listeners towards its sound, but rather herds and forcefully drives them into an emotional corner.
It’s a crushing soundscape that tears away at the listener’s insides as much as it does at the surrounding ambience. This version of “Insight” exists as a cathartic experience.
At its best, music aims to evoke a specific feeling in its listener while honestly expressing the views and emotions of the artist who created it. StereoBird take that concept one step further, interpreting the artist who created “Insight”, and it is crafted expertly, wringing out every last conceivable drop of emotion from its various peaks and troughs. It is the most intense and sonically harrowing they’ve ever sounded.
Post-rock is one of the most versatile genres of the modern times. It can be dark and heavy or extremely ethereal and ambient. This not only allows bands to cover a large sonic landscape, but also weave a plethora of emotions into their music. Yet, most bands only seem to get one part of the equation right.
StereoBird are emerging as one of the few acts capable of standing out from the rest of the post-rock crowd, as they unfold every aspect of their music in perfect harmony.