Well folks, our self-imposed summer “break” is over and we’re back at it with another premiere from friend of the site, Stereo Specter. This go round sees Stereo Specter returning with a decidedly expanded sound, something of a arena-rock prep anthem, “Subterfuge.” That’s not to discount the arena ready components of the song - clean, driving rhythm, ear worm-y chorus - but seeing as it’s the first of Stereo Specter’s newer tunes we’ve heard that features such Melophobia era Cage the Elephant verisimilitude, it’s hard to deny this is a step up into the big leagues for Stereo Specter.
For whatever reason, the greater whole of the Nashville rock scene seems keen on leaning further into the pseudo-new wave movement. That’s all well and good, but hell, it’s been that way for a while now, and there’s not been a ton to show for it. Admittedly, Nashville’s rock scene has more or less been superseded by Nashville’s pop, hip-hop, and jazz scenes as being distinctly more interesting and dynamic. That’s not a knock against all the rock bands in town, but, there is something to be said for “adapt or die.” Some have abandoned their “rock” sound altogether, while others, much like Stereo Specter, have created a level of duplicity in their sound to leverage that wannabe new wave movement and lean further into the notions of 70s and 80s rock classicism (minus the bell bottoms and blown out hair).
To that point, it starts to make a little more sense why Jordan Dean (the brain-trust behind Stereo Specter) would choose to title the single “Subterfuge.” There aren’t any sonic pivots into deceit or chicanery, or lyrical platitudes that any and all artists run the risk of committing to, but rather, a perceptive facade (ie: a bright, big vibe) that draws the listener in for just that, only to turn the song on it’s head, a la, a subterfuge.
In a sense, Stereo Specter is going more the way of local legends Kings of Leon, or The Killers, in the sense that this is a song for many, as opposed to a select few. Now, we’re not crazy about legacy ascription and all that, but seeing as KoL and The Killers are arguably two of, if not the two, biggest rock bands in the world currently, it’s safe to say that’s a vote of confidence in Stereo Specter’s more developed sound on “Subterfuge.”
Consider this a “zig while everyone else is zagging” maneuver by Stereo Specter that will undoubtedly keep us coming back to hear more from Dean and his cohorts, while others in the same scene fall by the wayside for lack of foresight and insight. If ever there were a heat check in the Nashville rock scene, this would be it. A proverbial “check mate” to any and all who fear a divergent path. If this is a sign of what’s to continue to come with Stereo Specter, we’ll keep bringing it to you. We can’t all stay above the fray, but Stereo Specter does exactly that on “Subterfuge.”