Reviewed by Chris Berry
Could this be all about the North/South divide? The conflict of moving into unknown territories and uncharted waters? Well, nearby Eccup Reservoir is the closest you get. No, this is the third offering from the simply stunning Stoodleys. They landed in Leeds last year, armed with their latest album 'Changes', admitting that their sound had changed irrevocably since. Almost twelve months later comes The Conflict'. And my, has that sound changed. Sure, there's still the pop-flavoured stuff that Ruth's voice suits admirably (she was only 12 when 'Changes' was recorded!) and that has moved on from Voice Of The Beehive to nearer Wendy Wu (check out an album from The Photos in the early 80s and you'll see what I mean). Mike's synth playing is now deeper, bassier, heavier (you get the idea?) in all departments, at times it's just down right mean. And of course Pete and Ann provide the solid backdrop to the overall sound, occasionally letting Pete off the leash to let rip. Eight tracks are featured here and the opener "Danger" sets the tone so well, hard hitting rhythm, strong vocal - that's their strength. I particularly enjoyed "So Close" too, and even the fellas get to sing lead on "I Remember". And there's even Logical Bonds going Extreme with "Be With Me" - the only truly gentle number on what is an energetic set. The future? Well carry on stacking even more of a wall of sound guys, it still needs that bit more. There are times when there are gaps that need filling (just like decorating, isn't it?) to really get to that 100% no nonsense sound where they're undoubtedly aiming. Very well worth your ears - and worth seeing in action too!
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