Leeds 5-piece Stateless bring from dance label K7! an eponymous debut that proves a sonic adventure with hard to bracket songs delivered by soulful vocalist Chris James singing with a falsetto voice that reminds of old Spandau Ballet front man Tony Hadley crossed with Bryan Ferry, high notes feeding the emotive songs that meet deep sound-clashes of breakbeat and dubby techno rhythms that show influences through having recorded and toured with DJ Shadow.
Opener 'Prism # 1' is a case in point - the mellow song augmented by break-beat and electric piano with a falsetto vocal reaching high - "...just a little scared of being lonely...", and 'Down Here' with its piano loops and scratching to the falsetto vocal work to a lilting effect. On 'Bloodstream' things turn inward and candlelight with an emotive Mozez-lite tune from a mellow hypnotic piano, pitter patter beats and drawled vocal - "...you've gotten into my bloodstream/ I can feel you flowing in me..." like a Sunday morning slumber. Single 'Exit' kicks with crunching techno-rock snare beats and orchestral swoops with vocal samples, muted vocal and scratching adding up to a UNKLE-esque tune, and the dramatic 'This Language' lifts a Vivaldi-kinda violin sample and tosses it with breakbeat, radio samples, a mirror tune of Radiohead's Karma Police with Lateef The Truthspeaker's grooving raps adding up to an effective thumper.
"...how long before you crash/ how long before you turn back..." asks vocalist Chris James on 'Running Out' a theme that's expounded on the following track 'Crash' that narrates with a Chris Martin vocal and Coldplayish tune "...crashed into the ocean/ then you vanished in the night..." proving a poppy moment. Tracks such as 'Radiokiller' have a heavy-handedness with a dryness in the muted vocal like a lazy Primal Scream, and 'Bluetrack' paints a Portishead wasteland as the dirge cranks up and drowns the song out what is a track best squared with the remixers and aimed at the dancefloor as the beats and menace amount to a sonic car crash.
Like a crunchier Zero 7 or a mellow UNKLE but more like the one-of-a-kind of 4AD's Cuba, Stateless garner the late-night post-club pep pills, proving a band with ideas and textural songs - dangerous at times, infectious at others. Exploring that place where electronic programming meets indie with beatscapes providing the muscle to songs that would melt the ice cream of fans of Coldplay or Radiohead.