Nowadays it's much easier to record your own music and get it out into the world than in the past. However positive this might be for the musicians involved, you have to consider that not everybody has grown to a professional production level that will lead to a good sounding product. Unfortunately therefore, many releases come out that shouldn't have seen the light of day. Releases that aren't yet ready to review or just get a low rating score, despite all the effort that was put into them. Thank God there are enough musicians around that know how good their music is, and dare to take it out of their garage, bedroom or other any recording location. One of those acts that are, in my opinion, ready to get a real record deal are Salander; a British duo consisting of Dave Curnow (lead guitars, rhythm guitars, bowed guitar, vocals) and Dave Smith (keyboards, acoustic guitars, rhythm guitars, bass, drum-programming, vocals). They already impressed me with their former release Crash Course For Dessert (see review); a release that came out earlier this year. Now, only a couple of months later, I had the chance to hear their new musical effort too, so let me introduce you all to: STENDEC.
Once again both musicians, were involved in writing, performing and producing all the music on this release. A release which contains seven excellent tracks. All of the same high level and once again with several musical influences which might have been taken from a diverse range of acts like, for example, Pink Floyd. Just listen to the excellent guitar parts throughout the entire album and you'll know what I'm talking about. Also, Steven Wilson and his band Porcupine Tree came to mind, as I noticed on, for instance, the opening piece Pearls Upon A Crown. A band such as Barclay James Harvest could have inspired them as well, as is audible on Zeitgeist, Controlled Flight Into Terrain and Situation Disorientation. The famous Fab Four, better known as The Beatles, are also never far away; especially on the aforementioned Controlled Flight Into Terrain; a track that certainly belongs to the highlights on STENDEC. This is mainly due to the fact of its strong instrumental parts, with lots of awesome solos, performed on synths and electric guitar, but that's something I could say about each individual piece on this release. On each song the two Daves shine on their instruments; maybe even more than on their predecessor.
This predecessor was a true concept album, something which isn't that much the case on this new release, but you could say the lyrics do have an overall theme of love and loss.
Well, Crash Course For Dessert already impressed me when I heard it for the very first time. Maybe STENDEC impressed me even more after listening to it several times. The album really started to grow on me after a while and I guess those are the ones you love the most. Anybody who loves the music made earlier by this act, should try to check out Salanders's website. You'll probably be impressed as much as I was. Hopefully a serious record label will pick them up very soon! They certainly deserve it!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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