MESHING POST PUNK ENERGY WITH MODERN ROCK ELEMENTS, PHILLY POWER TRIO STELLARSCOPE
BRINGS THEIR HIGH INTENSITY WALL OF SOUND TO THEIR DEEPLY EMOTIONAL FULL LENGTH ALBUM
‘STANDING IN THE SHADOW OF YOUR GHOST’
Stellarscope frontman and guitarist Tom Lugo may jokingly refer to his powerhouse band as “Tom and the Bobs,” but the wild, expansive, densely atmospheric wall of sound that he, Robert Deflaviis (bass/keys) and Robert Forman (drums) create defies and transcends the scope of what a typical alt rock trio creates. The band’s latest sonically immersive experience comes to life as their deeply emotional new full length album Standing in the Shadow of Your Ghost – a masterwork that’s the musical equivalent of a Quentin Tarantino film.
A longtime staple of Philadelphia’s indie rock scene, the band’s dark, heartfelt yet edgy songs and productions are what might result if you fused classic Phil Spector wall of sound production and atmospheres with shoegazing psychedelic vibes that evolved into post punk with modern alt rock elements. They achieve this with a foundation of bass, drums and guitars with layered guitar textures on top of that for a total of five joyful noisemaking instruments. When Lugo and Forman first joined forces in the late 90s, the original band was more of a psychedelic alt rock group, but as the years progressed the sound became more angst driven and took on a punk aesthetic.
Standing in the Shadow of Your Ghost opens by dealing with the aftermath of a relationship (the dense, haunting and blistering “Don’t Belong”), then traces the experience backwards through a series of ebbs and flows before wrapping with the vast bold apocalyptic energy of “This is How It Ends.” They reach some fascinating epiphanies along the way, epitomized by the lyric in the trippy, percussive “Falling” that finds Lugo singing, “The more we are willing to forgo/The farther down the rabbit hole we go.” For those who haven’t caught their shows in Philly and all along the Eastern seaboard (NYC, Richmond, Baltimore, DC) and beyond these past years, perhaps the best entry point to the experience is the album’s first single “Only Strangers Now,” a grooving lament about a once beautiful relationship going to hell whose rhythm, atmosphere and lead vocals draw from two of Stellarscope’s chief influences, Joy Division and the early years of The Cure.
The video to the first single “only strangers now” https://youtu.be/vxlquC3QM28
“The new album deals with the pain of loss and the fear of an uncertain future,” Lugo says. “Over the past two years, the band members have gone through some trials and Standing in the Shadow of Your Ghost is a reflection of what we went through. We took longer releasing this album than previous works because we wanted to deliver a professional sounding album with modern elements and a more streamlined sound than we had done before.”
Another key influence is Pink Floyd, especially in the explosively creative audiovisual immersion that Stellarscope fashions for its live performances. Lugo creates all the projections and light production that are used to draw their audience into a sense of being underwater and literally “drowning in a sea of noise.” They synchronize their songs to video projections that tell a story via diverse colorful, even chaotic images. “We want fans to get excited about our music and dance to it,” Lugo says, “but just as importantly, we want them to feel as if they’ve entered a kind of snow globe. We love to let the visuals help tell the stories that start in the music.”