THE STROPPIES 'Levity' LP
Unlike the lean, crisp jangle-pop of their 2018 debut ‘Whoosh!’, Melbourne's The Stroppies add fuzz, distortion, tape manipulation and key modulation to make a darker, hazier product than before. An alluring sequel to one of the most delightful indie-pop debuts of the 2010s. Highly recommended! FFO Pavement / GBV / Cleaners From Venus / Dick Diver +++
The title of The Stroppies' newest LP, Levity, serves as a creative statement of intent and an acknowledgment of the dichotomy between the music they have made and the conditions in which they were produced.
For a group that started over an initial idea to "create open ended music, quickly and haphazardly", the logistical challenges of creating their second album in the midst of a pandemic, in a city that endured the longest lockdown in the world, created a need to redefine process.
Levity, The Stroppies strongest creative statement to date, is the result of this new approach to creative process. Playful yet focused, but broader in scope and experimentation than previous efforts, the ten songs that comprise Levity continue the band's exploration of the pop song as both foil for experimentation and conduit for personal reflection.
Whereas the group's debut LP Whoosh! demonstrated their ability to craft clean, concise jangle pop, Levity takes a different route by utilizing a darker pallet of sounds to create its impressionistic whole. Fuzz and distortion are employed to add weight to songs built on tape loops and Motorik drum patterns. Warbling synthesisers and modulated keys add new moods and dimensions to The Stroppies unique brand of pop classicism. Thematically, the band continues their exploration of the personal refracted through the lens of the absurd, though this time around the music feels a few shades darker, a somewhat inevitable consequence of the collective trauma of the past 24 months. The songs still hit with the immediacy that made their debut so engaging, but there's a creeping cynicism and wistfulness that now permeates The Stroppies sound. While the narrative around the 'lockdown record' is increasingly commonplace, there are unavoidable realities involved in making creative decisions under such circumstances that can't be overlooked, especially for a band that thrives on collaboration.