With some bands, the way they carry themselves is part of the allure. The fact that they seem to operate out of how the rest of the music industry operates has always been one of the most intriguing factors behind Houston’s Studded Left. Leaving behind the power of the name Indian Jewelry and starting a new project is unheard of by many, but with these two, it’s just part of their charm. On their debut full length Popular Intuition they leave behind the abrasive tones of their former selves in favor of more melodic underpinnings and tracks that hit your senses in other ways.
The opener “Lemon Lovers” has this post-punk apolcalyptic tone, sounding like the soundtrack for late night street urchins who dance in the street alongside punk vampires. The song has a groove it centers around, honing in on a more intrinsic feel where the group cuts through the tension they create like a surgical knife to the epidermis. The entirety of the album is like a dream where electrons pierce your veil of existence long enough to stick in your head.
Where “My Talents” comes in like a passing memory of late night dance club times, songs like “How You Say USA” and “Trotter” feel like synapses detaching from your insides, creating a hazy space for your mind to exist. Of the nine tracks, we found multiple standouts-the first of which is the electro-pop touches of “Lazy Rio.” With post-punk new wave tones, the song is catchy as hell without trying too hard. All of the darkness the band has become known for exists here in a new place where Studded Left have created a night club that we can all attend. The dual vocals make a nice haunting sound, falling between the current and the past thoughts inside of us all. “Madam X,” another standout track pulsates like an orgasm, mixing spirit induced vocals with dark electronica that takes you into all of your sadness without experiencing the depression and malaise that comes with such moments. There’s a masterful melody that will remind you of a sci-fi film soundtrack, where the hero dies in the end. “Vain” was the biggest standout, mainly because it steers away from the other tracks. The atmospheric vocals mixed with drum machine snaps and multiple synth clusters prove that much like the album, no matter what Studded Left wants to do, they’ll achieve it and keep us all a bit at arm’s length in doing so.
Popular Intuition is available to stream on all streaming sites, it can be purchased digitally from all online music shops, or on vinyl directly from the Studded Left Bandcamp page. Studded Left will be on tour beginning May 25 at Belltown Yacht Club in Seattle, WA until June 01 at Beerland in Austin, TX. A complete listing of their tour dates can be found here.
Image Credits: Photo Courtesy of Artist/Bandcamp.