Dream-pop finds solace in an album like HDSPC, an otherwise subgenre of electronic music often burdened with melodramatic cries or forced melodies of moaning, self loathing and anticlimactic gibberish. It’s a genre that embraces self-importance, countering criticism as a “lack of understanding” by the Ignorant Masses.
Enter HDSPC. Classy, tasteful and opposite the status quo, former A Plea for Purging guitarist and songwriter Blake Martin’s production is polished, yet with a subtle lo-fi nuance successful in capturing a listener’s intrigue while avoiding the sleepiness often associated with the genre. Sonically, HDSPC can easily share a playlist with bands like Far, Mazzy Star, Team Sleep or Puscifer. It’s heavily influenced by Chino Moreno’s more recent work (e.g. † † † [Crosses]).
The first two tracks provide solid direction for the EP; initially, you are greeted with a boom-bap beat as the album opens with “The Thorn.” Think Portishead’s Dummy: No fire works on this track, just a steady bounce utilizing vocoder-style effects and dark synth stabs as the backdrop. The next track, “Gone,” is perfect for afterhours or late night driving. Don’t skip on the nuance provided by the kick drum and bass guitar. They provide a dirty, soulful groove, and the vocals are faintly reminiscent of Dirty Vegas.
“Connected” is a good song with merit as a possible single. However, it feels disconnected from the rest of the album. HDSPC achieved success providing a single direction on the other four tracks as a refreshing, futuristic sound; “Connected” feels like it came out of Nashville.
The final tracks, “Sun” and “Shallow Graves,” both prove to be the strongest on the EP. “Sun” immediately grabs the listener with the most unique sound on the EP. The final track is an easy listen, but, more importantly, leaves the listener wanting to hear more a full album.
Altogether a captivating album that passes on the cliche, favoring the atmospheric sounds, dreamy landscapes and intriguing melodies, it maintains its dark and moody soul. I would like to hear Martin further explore the sound of “Sun,” and I have no problem recommending HDSPC.