Skip to main content

Ads

loading...

Featured Post

One-Pot Pasta with Tuna

Use the one-pot pasta cooking method to make this tuna pasta recipe that calls for just 5 ingredients and is ready in just over half an hour. For extra crunch and a tuna noodle casserole feel, sprinkle this speedy pasta dish with toasted whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs.

Ads

ads

Flipboard

Flipboard

Stephen Steinbrink - Utopia Teased Music Album Reviews

Recorded in the wake of the Ghost Ship fire and in a haze of psychedelics, these luminous pop songs articulate grief as a means of moving past it.

Stephen Steinbrink wrote and recorded his fourth record, Utopia Teased, inside a shipping container. It wasn’t a stunt; the East Bay singer/songwriter was seeking emotional refuge in the months after the tragic 2016 Ghost Ship fire. Consumed by grief, Steinbrink created Utopia Teased in this makeshift studio while sleep-deprived but stimulated by a daily diet of LSD. Bereavement, tight spaces, and a steady stream of hallucinogens sound like a recipe for disaster or, at the very least, music that reflects disquieting circumstances. But these dozen songs distill Steinbrink’s anguish into a luminous pop tonic—bitter, bright, and above all, restorative.

For the past 10 years, Steinbrink has made refined bedroom pop that emits an inviting glow. But where Steinbrink’s 2016 LP, Anagrams, flickered with twinkling strings and weightless arrangements, Utopia Teased is a steady shaft of laser light, not a series of sparkles. It can sear the retina as easily as it can light up the dark. Opener “Bad Love” epitomizes the gulf between sonics and subject matter; its lambent beams of synthesizer and electric guitar are seductive and beguiling, contradicting Steinbrink’s frank declaration that life is a series of illusions, with no one here to help you decode them. “In Another Kind of Dream” is similarly deceptive, bouncing on piano chords that sound plucked from a Harry Nilsson tune before disintegrating into a field recording of a violent conflagration. Steinbrink reads an excerpt from visual artist Paul Thek’s diary here, offering an explicit, verbose depiction of banal despair.

Thek’s writing feels unnecessary on a record so rich with beautifully realized turns of phrase. Steinbrink is gifted at the art of concision. His lyrics puncture the beatific patina of his songs, little daggers that stud the album and stab when you least expect it. Clipped verses suggest fully-fleshed character studies with just a line or two. He renders quarter-century nihilism (“You’re 31/You don’t believe in anything”), a despondent relationship (“You’re my keys when they’re lost in the couch”), and the mundane disputes we try to avoid in public places (“I can’t talk about Christmas plans at Starbucks”) with brevity and ease.

As skillful as Steinbrink is at identifying pain and its many culprits, he is also keen to move past it. Utopia Teased was created as a vehicle for overcoming grief, and though that process is rarely tidy or comprehensible, there is a wash of catharsis by the album’s end. “I’m Never Changing Who You Are” offers imperfect but effectual methods for soothing agony, based mostly in acceptance and remaining in the moment. “I only got the time I got,” Steinbrink sings, his voice glassy and trembling, “and I’m not spending it in pain.” The words tumble out softly, like towels on their last whirl in the dryer. But even Steinbrink’s sweet falsetto can’t prevent sharp little truths from poking through this plume of guitar pop. It isn’t long before he reminds us that this “cure could also be your poison… anything can be, anyway.” That pain is the catalyst for so much great art is one of the cruel tropes of creativity. In Steinbrink’s case, on his most beautiful record yet, the bedrock of his pain paves the road away from it.


View the original article here

Comments

ads

loading...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

Game Of Thrones Season 8 - End Game With Sinhala Subtitles

Asus ZenFone 6 Review

Has Asus cracked the bezel-less design with the ZenFone 6? We think so - read our review and find out why.
Should I Buy The Asus ZenFone 6?
The ZenFone 6 is a phenomenal smartphone, offering an innovative Flip Camera system that not only provides high-end front- and rear-facing cameras, but allows for a full-screen display free of hole-punch cameras or notches. Combine that with high-end internals and all-day battery life, and you've got a great, all-round smartphone. 

Samsung Q70R Review (2019)

Not as well specified as in previous years, but the 2019 Q70R is a superb QLED TV which has enough features from the flagship Q90R to make it great value at this price. Find our more in our full review.
Should I Buy The Samsung Q70R QLED 4K TV?
Highly impressive QLED picture quality along with the all-encompassing Smart Hub combine to make the Q70R a great choice if you can’t justify spending a whole lot more on the Q90R.

Huawei MateBook 14 Review

The MateBook 14 is one of Huawei's new laptops for 2019 and is the perfect all-rounder. Find out why in our full review.
Should I Buy The Huawei MateBook 14?
The MateBook 14 might be a slightly chunkier and heavier version of the flagship X Pro, but the weight is a small price to pay considering that this laptop is a much cheaper option.
What you lose (or gain, really) in weight, is made up for by additional ports, better performance and longer battery life. You only really need to pass on this if Thunderbolt is an absolute must.

Xiaomi M365 Electric Scooter Review

We test Xiaomi's electric scooter, which will keep the big kids entertained for hours. It's now officially available in the UK, too, which makes it even more appealing.
Should I Buy The Xiaomi Electric Scooter?
The Xiaomi Electric Scooter is expensive and not allowed on UK roads out the box, but if you have somewhere to take it this toy is an awful lot of fun. It's fast, smooth and almost entirely silent, with a battery that just keeps on going and decent brakes that stop you quickly but safely. This scooter is best reserved for the big kids, but that's no bad thing.

Like Fan Page