The Future Started Yesterday - Stereo Reform: Review

Posted on 12:00 AM by Mike Fye

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The Future Started Yesterday

Stereo Reform

2013

OK. I'm going to attempt to be as objective as possible here, which is going to be difficult considering I've known Lead Singer/Bass Player Neil Turner for a good 20 years now. We cut our musical teeth together, so I'm pretty knowledgeable on his influences and styles. First up, a brief history on the band, courtesy of their website.

"Hailing from Greenville, SC, Stereo Reform is a fusion of the creative talents of Neil Turner on bass, keys, and lead vocals, and Will Evans on guitar, keys, and backup vocals. With the 2008 release of their first album, Robots of Evolution, Stereo Reform introduced the world to their signature sound, “Dance-a-Funk-a-Rock-a-Tronic.” A true synthesis of genres, Dance-a-Funk-a-Rock-a-Tronic takes the loosely definable “rock” sound and blends dance, funk, and pop into the mix. In addition to Robots of Evolution,Stereo Reform has also recorded two demos, The Whitestone Session and Party Light 25. In April of 2012, Stereo Reform teamed up with Bravo Ocean and Triangle Sound Studios (owned by acclaimed producer Tricky Stewart) to record their newest album, The Future Started Yesterday, which is set to release on May 13, 2013. Stereo Reform is currently playing clubs and music halls throughout the southeast, and is also looking to make an impact on the festival circuit." 

Their first album, Robots of Evolution, was a good showcase of the funk-rock skills they'd been perfecting at the time, with solid tracks and instrumentation. But it lacked some of the studio finesse that I'm personally so keen on. This is not to say the material itself isn't excellent, but it failed to capture the kinetic energy on display in their shows. The band was pushing for something fresh, but the engineers that worked on it may have forgotten to douche. 

With The Future, those issues have not only been addressed, but pushed the band's sound into the stratosphere. The engineering and sound quality is like the great Lebowski's rug, tying the whole room together. The funk-rock sound is more of the skeleton of the work this time around, providing the supports for the shimmery, synth-pop skin and the muscle of the Discotheque that courses between them.

Instrumentation-wise, the focus is on the whole rather than the individual, with the guitar, bass, drums and even the vocals are incorporated seamlessly into the mix, supporting each other rather than trying to show off. The synths accomplish the impossible task of feeling organic while retaining the raw edge needed to stimulate the ears.

The song writing and structure is as top-notch as to be expected, mostly keeping with a format to ensure maximum dance-ability. Lyrically, the focus is on various stages of the timeline in life and love, foregoing the political message in favor of a more spiritual one that actually better suits the fluid and ethereal sound of the tracks.

The Future Started Yesterday is actually the perfect description of the album itself. It pays homage to the old styles of yesteryear while embracing current technologies in a non-exploitative manner, giving it a timeless feel that's uncommon in the Pop landscape. I think it's safe to say that Stereo Reform's future itself has arrived. 

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