Tonight’s Listening: S T F U / What We Want

What happens when an electronic wizard like Dean Garcia (Curve, SPC ECO) fuses his sound with that of post-punk noise craftsman Preston Maddox (Bloody Knives)? You get a genre bending, envelope pushing, and refreshingly new sounding band called S T F U. Their debut LP, What We Want sounds like the work of a well oiled machine, far from that of a new act. Their combined experience shines through each well produced track.

As I mentioned, What We Want is hard to pin down to any one genre. There are dream pop elements here…a lightness to the music, even if only around the edges sometimes. But there’s danger here too…a depth waiting to be explored. Brilliant loops, filtered vocals, and echoes layer on top of each other to help the songs build a structure that connects them all together in a cohesive unit. The one thing that permeates out of the speakers, no matter if the track is darkly mysterious or exploring new heights, is harmony. There’s a listenable quality to What We Want that bands like Nine Inch Nails and Massive Attack, who similarly fuse noisy soundscapes and harmony, struggle with sometimes.

Highlights of the album for me are Do It Now, which starts out looking skyward but once the beat starts you know you’re about to take the path less traveled. The chorus line hits with waves of sounds overlapping one another to create beauty out of nowhere. I was really impressed with the way they explored how sounds work against and for one another all at the same time. The title track, What We Want is another sure winner. Bombastic beats set the tone as other sounds drone above the abyss. The vocals help the listener stay just above the dark as the chorus blends together sounds that almost warn you of how close you are to the bottom. Another favorite is Promise, which features sounds that fly overhead and around you (headphones are a must!) as the song pulls you deeper and deeper in.

While I’ve chosen these tracks to focus on, I assure you, there is no filler here. S T F U has filled What We Want with well produced tracks from start to finish. What We Want came out last summer on ELaB Records and can be purchased from the band’s Bandcamp Page.

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