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Boomkat Product Review:
Smoove '80s-inspired electronic pop bizz from this Belgian duo. Basically sounds like slowed down versions of Alphaville's 'Forever Young' produced by a stoned Phil Collins ("Face Value" era), and that's no bad thing.
Comprised of Antwerp-based brothers Jan and Sis Matthé, Stacks is an exercise in nostalgia and not an unsuccessful one. The two have already rattled through a bunch of ideas, refining their sound on albums like 2020's "Our Body Memory", but "Love and Language" is their most successful set to date. Here they channel their experiences and influences into eight tracks of melancholy pop that dare to fetishize an era of overblown excess, then reduce it to a near-whisper. Both brothers have an extensive history playing in local indie rock bands - including the successful White Circle Crime Club - but keep the instrumentation low key, preferring to recapture the gated electronic rhythms and soft pads of the early 1980s.
'Above Ground' is an early highlight, with squashed drums (think 'In the Air Tonight') and anthemic vocals that split the difference between Toto and Alphaville. 'Oh You' adds a dub techno-infused shake to the duo's soft pop excess, curling vocoded vocals around delayed synth spikes and white noise hiss, while 'To Be Near' turns the histrionics to 11, playing cloud-punching vocals against bit-crushed drums and brassy analog synths.