Stairwell H.’s Sacred Body
A Review by Chandler Crenladh
Photo credit: Allyson Pinon
Stairwell H. is a post-punk duo out of NYC featuring Jorge Almengor on bass & vocals and Madeline Seely handling Synths, drum machines, and additional vocals. Details appear scarce beyond this, their earliest upload on Bandcamp is their demo from last year.
Their most recent EP, “Sacred Body” released on Feb 16th of this year, and is a short four track teaser of (hopefully) more to come from the duo. The EP starts out with Teeth. Teeth’s synthwork is reminiscent of 16 bit Background music to a video game giving a distinctly nostalgic sound. ( The sentimentality is captured quite well I might add.) When the drums and chords commence they begin to cast a distinct melancholy that one would feel on a late night drive. It evolves quickly into a dark and contemplative piece.
Next up is my favorite from this release, Stairwell. With weaving chord work and understated, heavily layered vocals, the lyrics are hard to distinctly make out yet everything about this song is compelling and I have listened to it several times already. It’s got an intriguing mystique about it. Like walking through dark forest it almost has a foreboding. It’s a nice flow-y danceable piece as well, I could easily see this keeping people on the floor.
Self-Destruct departs from the 16 bit sound for a much “heavier” bass driven song. This one elicits a more frustrated feeling than the previous two. Synthwork is much lighter only peppering the song with some contemplative chords relying more so on vocals and bass for body giving the song a much darker feeling. Still dance-y but slower.
The final song in the lineup is Tall Bridges the fastest song in the EP yet the longest at 4:22 this song elicits some feelings of despair not previously experienced in the songs prior. The vocals are more sonorous and gloomy and the bass more driving. Later there’s a shift, the song seems to return to the 16 bit nostalgic sound at around 3:00 bringing the EP full circle. A clever move and really gives the EP some punch in my opinion.
All in all, I really enjoyed this album and I give it an 8/10, it’s well arranged, it’s danceable, it’s complex, it’s unique and a fresh take on dark electronica, darkwave and post-punk. I look forward to what Stairwell H. do in the future and look forward to them touring through St. Louis at some point! Until then, Obscura Undead will be listening with eager ears and so will I. 💀
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