So Mysterious Synthpop Spike Pop It is not often that someone is able to follow in the footsteps or, at the very least, be directly inspired and encouraged by their heroes and inspirations. In the case of H. McLoughlin, she was one of the lucky few who had a direct line of communication with her musical idol, Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields. A simple question revolving around what drum machine to buy turned McLoughlin's idea into a passion, thus she began creating music in 2014 while living within Berlin. When she moved to London in 2018, her project Spike Pop took form. Embracing the idea of lo-fi, DIY synthpop, McLoughlin spread her demos online. Her music was listened to, gigs happened, collaborations occurred, and she even did some film scoring. Now, in 2021, she has revealed her latest EP "So Mysterious". So Mysterious by Spike PopDespite the lo-fi tag Spike Pop gives herself, "So Mysterious" is rather well-produced nonetheless; it sounds better than some of the studio-recorded, professionally mixed and mastered gothrock and post-punk releases that are submitted to the site. The title track is a bit of a darkwave ballad, utilizing a minimal yet hypnotic beat. Trance like elements that first appear around the fifty-second mark echo throughout the song while other electronic samples bite through the chords. 'The Year Is One' begins off as a techno bit, with spoken word vocals and a steady beat. I quite enjoyed some of the effects on the vocals, especially when it sounds like multiple layers are coming in at once, some much deeper in pitch than others. The minimal tone maintains true throughout this track, but it's beauty is in its simplicity. Well done. 'Voca Me' starts off with a static-filled sample of a classical, church-sounding ballad before bright synths open up the track into a queer mood. This is a song where more is less and it also gave me an idea of what Spike Pop could really do while singing. Once again invoking elements of darkwave, McLoughlin's vocals are the outstanding instrument on this song. The static that I mentioned earlier never goes away throughout the song, either, but it's a texture that adds an eerie element to the track. The final song on the album blasts the walls down with hard, ear-filling trance. The vocals on the track went way too high pitched in some turns, such as around the two-minute and two second mark. Spike Pop continued to surprise on this album as growling appeared amongst the electronics (check out the two-minute and fifty-second mark as an example). While I wouldn't think this element would work on the track, it just does. It surprised me at first, but it adds a rough edge to an otherwise electronic dance tune. Thus the four-track EP comes to an end. Spike Pop's brand of DIY synthpop stands out from the crowd primarily due to her experimental nature. Unwilling to be walled in by genre standards, Spike Pop finds herself throwing in an amalgamation of genres in a short amount of time without ever turning her head on what she wants to do. Synthpop, darkwave, and lo-fi music all take center stage on "So Mysterious", but every minute presents a new sample. She sees the opportunity to add and she takes it without ever presenting her music as overbearing; not a moment in this EP did I feel as if I was being overloaded with music or sound. It's a damned good balance of experimentation and genre staples. For that, then, I give "So Mysterious" a seven-and-a-half out of ten! Well done! This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page. 450
Brutal Resonance

Spike Pop - So Mysterious

7.5
"Good"
Released 2021 by Ezi Deth Rekords
It is not often that someone is able to follow in the footsteps or, at the very least, be directly inspired and encouraged by their heroes and inspirations. In the case of H. McLoughlin, she was one of the lucky few who had a direct line of communication with her musical idol, Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields. A simple question revolving around what drum machine to buy turned McLoughlin's idea into a passion, thus she began creating music in 2014 while living within Berlin. When she moved to London in 2018, her project Spike Pop took form. Embracing the idea of lo-fi, DIY synthpop, McLoughlin spread her demos online. Her music was listened to, gigs happened, collaborations occurred, and she even did some film scoring. Now, in 2021, she has revealed her latest EP "So Mysterious". 



Despite the lo-fi tag Spike Pop gives herself, "So Mysterious" is rather well-produced nonetheless; it sounds better than some of the studio-recorded, professionally mixed and mastered gothrock and post-punk releases that are submitted to the site. The title track is a bit of a darkwave ballad, utilizing a minimal yet hypnotic beat. Trance like elements that first appear around the fifty-second mark echo throughout the song while other electronic samples bite through the chords. 'The Year Is One' begins off as a techno bit, with spoken word vocals and a steady beat. I quite enjoyed some of the effects on the vocals, especially when it sounds like multiple layers are coming in at once, some much deeper in pitch than others. The minimal tone maintains true throughout this track, but it's beauty is in its simplicity. Well done. 

'Voca Me' starts off with a static-filled sample of a classical, church-sounding ballad before bright synths open up the track into a queer mood. This is a song where more is less and it also gave me an idea of what Spike Pop could really do while singing. Once again invoking elements of darkwave, McLoughlin's vocals are the outstanding instrument on this song. The static that I mentioned earlier never goes away throughout the song, either, but it's a texture that adds an eerie element to the track. The final song on the album blasts the walls down with hard, ear-filling trance. The vocals on the track went way too high pitched in some turns, such as around the two-minute and two second mark. Spike Pop continued to surprise on this album as growling appeared amongst the electronics (check out the two-minute and fifty-second mark as an example). While I wouldn't think this element would work on the track, it just does. It surprised me at first, but it adds a rough edge to an otherwise electronic dance tune. 

Thus the four-track EP comes to an end. Spike Pop's brand of DIY synthpop stands out from the crowd primarily due to her experimental nature. Unwilling to be walled in by genre standards, Spike Pop finds herself throwing in an amalgamation of genres in a short amount of time without ever turning her head on what she wants to do. Synthpop, darkwave, and lo-fi music all take center stage on "So Mysterious", but every minute presents a new sample. She sees the opportunity to add and she takes it without ever presenting her music as overbearing; not a moment in this EP did I feel as if I was being overloaded with music or sound. It's a damned good balance of experimentation and genre staples. For that, then, I give "So Mysterious" a seven-and-a-half out of ten! Well done! 

This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page.
May 03 2021

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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