Friday 6 March 2020

STONUS ~ APHASIA ...... review

Birthed in Cyprus (2015), and now based in London,UK since 2018, Stonus are Kyriacos Frangoulis (vocals); Pavlos Demetriou (lead guitar); Nicky Ray (rhythm guitar); Andreas Aristides (bass) and Kotsios Demetriades (drums), a collective of like-minded musicians who share an ear for a good groove and need for those grooves to be heard, something they will have no trouble achieving judging by the reaction Desert Psychlist is already hearing to their debut release "Aphasia" (Electric Valley Records).

After a short intro , called strangely enough "Intro", that sounds very much like a large vehicle's reverse warning alarm, we get into "Awake" a strident opus driven by solid insistent percussion and a heavily effected chugging guitar riff over which vocals are delivered with a jerky almost punk-like bravado. Now this would make a quite acceptable opening track if it were to end there but Stonus are not the type of band to just hit a groove and stay there, they want to experiment, to see how far they can take things and so the song takes a turn into lysergic territory with guitars dialled to swirling and phased and the vocals following a similar hazy path. This is Stonus' modus operandi, hit the listener with something warm fuzzy and vaguely familiar then while they are wallowing in the warmth of the groove ease them towards territories they may be unfamiliar with but know they are going to love. It's a trick that works too, songs like "Mania", "Nadir" and "Dead End" are all started from a place of familiarity but then will go suddenly off piste, the band injecting little unexpected twists and turns into the mix that add an element of surprise to the proceedings . One slight exception to this rule however is the initially haunting and quietly brilliant "Ghost Town" a slow burning tome that although cannot be described as doomic does have atmospheric qualities oft associated with doom. Even her though Stonus cannot resist the urge to take the song to places its initial beginnings didn't hint at and so we find the band upping the tempo and falling into a stoner(ish) hard rock romp to take the song over the finish line. 

Unconventional, slightly untamed and most  definitely quirky "Aphasia" is nonetheless a stunning release from a band who are unafraid to buck trends and do things their own way, and if it works as it ultimately does, who's to say that's the wrong way.
Check it out …. 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

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