Stress - The Big Wheel
Minimal, Post Punk On heels of Dark Entries Records' release of 'Conspiracy Theory' LP and Vocoder Tapes reissue of 'Help Come Too Late' cassette, Stress has found new life. Other Voices Records adds to the reactivation ritual of Stress with the reissue of the 1985 classic LP 'The Big Wheel'. 'The Big Wheel' is available in every format. The CD and download come with bonus tracks. There is even a super limited edition in cassette format for the demented cassette collectors like myself.

Stress has been around since 1981. The duo consists of Alan Rider and Phil Clarke. They blend many sounds into their electronic brand of minimal synth post punk rhythms. Captivating bass-lines reminiscent of early New Order weave themselves into the fabric of 'The Big Wheel'. The lyrical themes blend religion, social issues, economics and film.

I was very excited to hear the complete offering on 'The Big Wheel' as I had only heard a few songs prior it's release. At first I wasn't sure what to think. Is this new wave or is this punk, or something else? Can the vocalist sing? These are questions that could only be answered after three or four listens.

The songs that first captivated me were the more edgy tracks the bordered the realms of minimal electro and experimental. "No Sane Alternative" deliverers a Cold War era instrumental with scattered samples of Ronald Reagan and his stance and thoughts against the Eastern Bloc placed in and around a cold synth sequence and thumping bass guitar. There is no sane alternative when you are dealing with potential nuclear war. The word pray (spoken by Ronald Reagan) is sampled through out the track. "They are the focus of evil in the modern world" and "Let us pray" are two other telling samples from 80's during the Reagan era.

Another edgy track is called "Elizabeth Selwyn". It is a nod to the British horror flick 'The City Of The Dead'. Lots of cool samples from movie are scattered about the track. The synths bring out an erie vibe to parallel the samples and cold bass play.

"The Prayer Clock" was originally featured on the 'Life At The Top' compilation LP along with Coil, Nagamatzu and several others in 1984. "The Prayer Clock" really helped launch their first vinyl offering, "The Big Wheel". The adversary is in this song appears to be a televagelist calling for 15 minutes of prayer a day and the eradication of punk rockers. So 80's! Remember Quincy?

"Under Bluer Skies" and "Another Rainy Day" make up the lighter side of Stress. "Another Rainy Day has nice chill vibe attached it. The bass guitar reminds me of a slower version of Japan's "Adolescent Sex". The vocals are as soothing as the music. "Under Bluer Skies" has similar feel to "Another Rainy Day" with some really nice synth pieces repeated throughout the track.

"The Price You Pay" starts out as a slower track. About one minute in the music picks up and vocals get a bit more aggressive. Like most tracks by Stress the synths and the way they are incorporated into the songs really connect the listener to all aspects of their offerings. They act as lure. Before you know it, you are addicted and left wanting more.

"Non Verbal Cue" returns to the sampling again with more spoken words referring to god and religion from movies or TV. "Tear it Down" reminds me of Portion Control circa 1983-1986. "Siege Economy" is a strong track with a memorable chorus. The vocals are raw and melodic while the music infiltrates your senses with some excellent synths built into the composition. The same can be said of "Slaves To Beat". "Get The Most" is a great minimal synthpopy track that brings early Experimental Products to mind with a heavy emphasis on the vocals and lyrical content parallelled by an ear-pleasing synth-play!

The title track is a funny choice to me to be the title track. It is a quirky song, perhaps even a bit choppy at times. The vocals turned me off initially. Can this guy sing? The answer is yes. It is hard to label his vocal style, but there is a nice blend of rawness, edge and melody not only in the title track, but the entire album. After a few listens, I started to understand and appreciate it more and more. "The Big Wheel" does a great job preparing you for what is to come.

"Fist Comes Down" ends 'The Big Wheel' with a nice blend of melody with a punk edge laced into the vocals.

This is aces all around!
4
Brutal Resonance

Stress - The Big Wheel

On heels of Dark Entries Records' release of 'Conspiracy Theory' LP and Vocoder Tapes reissue of 'Help Come Too Late' cassette, Stress has found new life. Other Voices Records adds to the reactivation ritual of Stress with the reissue of the 1985 classic LP 'The Big Wheel'. 'The Big Wheel' is available in every format. The CD and download come with bonus tracks. There is even a super limited edition in cassette format for the demented cassette collectors like myself.

Stress has been around since 1981. The duo consists of Alan Rider and Phil Clarke. They blend many sounds into their electronic brand of minimal synth post punk rhythms. Captivating bass-lines reminiscent of early New Order weave themselves into the fabric of 'The Big Wheel'. The lyrical themes blend religion, social issues, economics and film.

I was very excited to hear the complete offering on 'The Big Wheel' as I had only heard a few songs prior it's release. At first I wasn't sure what to think. Is this new wave or is this punk, or something else? Can the vocalist sing? These are questions that could only be answered after three or four listens.

The songs that first captivated me were the more edgy tracks the bordered the realms of minimal electro and experimental. "No Sane Alternative" deliverers a Cold War era instrumental with scattered samples of Ronald Reagan and his stance and thoughts against the Eastern Bloc placed in and around a cold synth sequence and thumping bass guitar. There is no sane alternative when you are dealing with potential nuclear war. The word pray (spoken by Ronald Reagan) is sampled through out the track. "They are the focus of evil in the modern world" and "Let us pray" are two other telling samples from 80's during the Reagan era.

Another edgy track is called "Elizabeth Selwyn". It is a nod to the British horror flick 'The City Of The Dead'. Lots of cool samples from movie are scattered about the track. The synths bring out an erie vibe to parallel the samples and cold bass play.

"The Prayer Clock" was originally featured on the 'Life At The Top' compilation LP along with Coil, Nagamatzu and several others in 1984. "The Prayer Clock" really helped launch their first vinyl offering, "The Big Wheel". The adversary is in this song appears to be a televagelist calling for 15 minutes of prayer a day and the eradication of punk rockers. So 80's! Remember Quincy?

"Under Bluer Skies" and "Another Rainy Day" make up the lighter side of Stress. "Another Rainy Day has nice chill vibe attached it. The bass guitar reminds me of a slower version of Japan's "Adolescent Sex". The vocals are as soothing as the music. "Under Bluer Skies" has similar feel to "Another Rainy Day" with some really nice synth pieces repeated throughout the track.

"The Price You Pay" starts out as a slower track. About one minute in the music picks up and vocals get a bit more aggressive. Like most tracks by Stress the synths and the way they are incorporated into the songs really connect the listener to all aspects of their offerings. They act as lure. Before you know it, you are addicted and left wanting more.

"Non Verbal Cue" returns to the sampling again with more spoken words referring to god and religion from movies or TV. "Tear it Down" reminds me of Portion Control circa 1983-1986. "Siege Economy" is a strong track with a memorable chorus. The vocals are raw and melodic while the music infiltrates your senses with some excellent synths built into the composition. The same can be said of "Slaves To Beat". "Get The Most" is a great minimal synthpopy track that brings early Experimental Products to mind with a heavy emphasis on the vocals and lyrical content parallelled by an ear-pleasing synth-play!

The title track is a funny choice to me to be the title track. It is a quirky song, perhaps even a bit choppy at times. The vocals turned me off initially. Can this guy sing? The answer is yes. It is hard to label his vocal style, but there is a nice blend of rawness, edge and melody not only in the title track, but the entire album. After a few listens, I started to understand and appreciate it more and more. "The Big Wheel" does a great job preparing you for what is to come.

"Fist Comes Down" ends 'The Big Wheel' with a nice blend of melody with a punk edge laced into the vocals.

This is aces all around! Oct 25 2013

Luke Jacobs

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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