Reviewed by Nathan Ford
Alex Cuervo may be better known as guitarist /vocalist for Austin garage manglers the Hex Dispensers, but he's also been known to flex whatever muscles are required to play impressively creepy horror movie synths under the name of Espectrostatic.
It seems that Trouble in Mind Records were equally impressed with what they heard and decided to continue their diversification by releasing his debut full length, and good thing too - this is a record that deserves more attention and promotion than the average Bandcamp upload can offer.
It's a consistently creepy and evocative entry in the pseudo horror soundtrack vein of the likes of John Carpenter and Tangerine Dream with plenty of original touches to lift it above the myriad of copyists flooding the genre at the moment.
It's often reminiscent of the synth heavy work of Umberto, although where Umberto's beats tend to be a little more dance floor friendly, Cuervo's percussion has a slow, driving quality that comes closer to fusing early seventies Pink Floyd with Fabio Frizzi style prog, steadily building a sense of impending dread.
If you can listen to the throbbing synthesizer bursts on track like "Smokeface Appears" or "The Haunted Doll Factory" without picturing yourself being stalked around a deserted and poorly lit industrial precinct by something unseen, then you're far more in control of your faculties than I am of mine.
Cuervo is open to referencing other genres too, which is part of what keeps this sounding so fresh - yes, it sounds like a perfect alternate soundtrack to "Halloween 3", but it also touches upon prog rock, ambient, psychedelia, and on "Searching the Museum", a sort of Casiotone Henry Mancini, a playful (and welcome) diversion from an otherwise consistently ominous set, which let's face it - is EXACTLY what us horror hounds want.
Someone seriously needs to hire this man to score their next slasher. Ti West, are you reading this?
You can stream a few tracks from the album via the Bandcamp link below.
Available November 19th from Trouble in Mind Records on LP and CD.