ALBUM REVIEW: SPC ECO – Fifteen

8/10

ALBUM REVIEW: SPC ECO - Fifteen 2

SPC ECO is the evolution of something I have always considered very special. Anyone familiar with Shoegaze and alternative electronic music will know the name Curve. Particularly its founders: Dean Garcia and Toni Halliday who pioneered their style of ‘alternative’ music dating back as far as 1992 with ‘Fait Accompli’ as well as many other songs. These have entered into some common playlists and for most remain as the ‘what band is that?’ when played at house parties.

Throughout the nineties, Curve remained a solid and underappreciated act in the genre of alternative music. Where others went wild, Dean and Toni simply kept on with their breed of music culminating in the seminal album ‘Come Clean’ in 1994. Which I still maintain is their best work. History and the industry was unkind to these musicians. Since ‘Come Clean’ was not pushed as it should have been the band released a plethora of music that really only true fans know about. Some tracks are so well hidden that only very few know they exist. This is mainly due to the tenacity of a loyal fanbase and Dean Garcia’s unrelenting production ethic.

In his role as a master of composition and management, Dean kept the Curve flame alive. This extended to even agreeing to contact some fans and share CDs with unreleased materials. Time went by and the flame had gone out though by 2011. To many Curve fans, as there was little coming from the pair, it was over and there would be no more. Suddenly without warning (and after a heartbreaking message that Curve was no more back in the 2000’s) Dean Garcia announced that SPC ECO (pronounced Space Echo) were doing music with his daughter Rose Garcia at the helm on vocals.

Like many fans I was very sceptical at first. Initially Dean and Rose seemed to play with various styles akin to the more ambient and safe zones. Then they formed an offshoot- called BOFC which was more intense and melodic while maintaining the other SPC ECO pages and persona. Confused? I was and they decided to merge the two acts after some time; deciding on the SPC ECO moniker as the main focus of the work.

The tracks I loved from both incarnations are still around of course- and it’s interesting that they still persist under the name left behind, for example, ‘Ray of Sun’. Then, of course, they then released the song ‘Fuck You’.  All doubters justly put in place, as was anyone else.. thinking that they were to be messed with or vice versa. I love this track, the video is superb, Dean called it “beautiful expletives” online as a description which says it all. What became clear is that this duo as Father and Daughter were not being nepotic.

This was and is a real music exploration. From the first release ‘3D’ running up the more friendly ‘Sirens and Satellites’, and then culminating in the latest release ‘Fifteen’. This is a journey we simply have been allowed to see, without filters. What should be noted here is the sheer volume of music that Dean and Rose have put up on Bandcamp. At current measurement, it is 34 releases most of these multiple tracked EPs or albums. This earned Dean a spot as a lifetime contributor. As the culmination of so much work and musical publishing, ‘Fifteen’ then would seem like just more SPC ECO output. It really isn’t. This is Different. The first track, Fading Out Of Time, hits your with its buzzsaw synths, slow and deliberate tempo and vocal textures to say this is probably not for you if you don’t like it so leave now.

It then continues into familiar territory for us used to their style But don’t expect a break. Emotional, yet you know there is real feeling in this. It’s not your average record, one for the fans yes but also one for everyone – let it in and you won’t leave. Expect to be taken on an audio ride. The songs on this album are a sonic exploration of what SPC ECO has become and in my view its nothing short of a masterpiece. Between the growling basses, deliberately produced percussion, creative synths and the vocals being as textured as they are its impossible to find a flaw. This is a superb album.

Stand out tracks are for me: The Heart and Soul, Breathing, and the title track Fifteen. But these are like picking pearls from a bucket of pearls. In me, this evokes memories of the first time I heard Come Clean but with much more of a rounded and polished feel as music is these days without not being weak or any less cutting than the SPC ECO style. A testament to the production quality.

It is ethereal without trying to be, hard-edged with soft knives, a punch in the face with a fist full of kittens and smiling at your enemies while they destroy themselves – Long live SPC ECO.

 

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