Austin, TX musician Alex Cuervo turned a few heads last year with his new project Espectrostatic; his synth-based electronic project. Cuervo has been knocking around in garage & punk bands since the Nineties, playing in killer acts like the Hex Dispensers, Blacktop, This Damn Town and more, but Espectrostatic showed a different side. Espectrostatic’s s/t debut all but abandoned guitars in favor of spooky electronic pulses & synth drones a’la John Carpenter & Tangerine Dream. Cuervo is back at it with the follow up album “Escape From Witchtropolis”.
“Escape From Witchtropolis” uses elements & themes laid out in the debut, but upping the anté with more sophisticated & subtle arrangements, letting the songs unfold organically, still inferring the presence of a soundtrack to an as-yet unmade horror flick. Opening with the brooding “Removing The Bandages”, the tone is set as the credits roll, before lurching into the title track “Escape From Witchtropolis”, whose motorik pulse hearkens back to the heyday of industrial dance music (Skinny Puppy, Cabaret Voltaire, Nitzer Ebb). Cuervo has a knack for keeping things taut & interesting, tunes like “The Feral Kids” with it’s tribal drums & synth squall tumble forward into more orchestrated tunes like “The Obelisk” before retreating inward into the cosmic headspace of “Sinking Into The Microverse” a head-turning drone masterpiece.
“Escape From Witchtropolis” conjures visions of musical ghosts past & present; Fabio Frizzi, John Carpenter, Umberto, Skinny Puppy, SPK, Zombi, Goblin & more all are imprinted on Espectrostatic, but Cuervo manages to maintain his own voice among the influences, concocting a cohesive & menacing sophomore album.
RIYL: John Carpenter, Umberto, Fabio Frizzi, Skinny Puppy, Death Waltz, Nitzer Ebb, Tangerine Dream