Personnel: Dean Garcia (guitar, keyboards, drums, programming); Steve Monti (drums, sequencer).
Audio Mixer: Dean Garcia.
Recording information: ElaB Studios, London (06/2015-01/2016).
Anomalies is the second 2016 full-length by father/daughter duo SPC ECO, following the self-released All We Have Is Now. As with their previous albums, this one consists of dark, chilly electro-pop songs highlighted by Rose Berlin's sensuous vocals and lyrics. Dean Garcia (co-founder of defunct British alternative band Curve) provides most of the music, which tends toward unhurried tempos and lightly chugging synth arpeggios. Curve were often associated with shoegaze because of their intensely loud, swirling guitars, but they always had a much greater interest in pop hooks and dance beats than their friends such as My Bloody Valentine (whose mastermind Kevin Shields contributed guitar to one of Curve's later albums). On Anomalies, the guitars are mostly relegated to the background; they're certainly present, but they add subtle textures rather than drive the songs. Compared to SPC ECO's previous albums, such as 2015's Dark Matter, Berlin's vocals tip a bit closer to sounding like Martina Topley-Bird than Elizabeth Fraser this time out, especially on tracks like "Bare to Lie." Her lyrics aren't quite as paranoid or heartbroken as on previous outings; there are more glimmers of hope and encouragement. A few of the songs flirt with more mainstream-sounding pop, especially the sentimental ballad "Your Own Way," which has simmering dance beats that would've been thrust into EDM overdrive had it been recorded by an act on a major-label with a big-time producer. As before, the duo's forte is their slow-burning trip-hop numbers, particularly songs like "All in Time," where the filtered drum beats have a heavy crunch to them. ~ Paul Simpson