'Stereo Jesus'- Track Review
It begins like a ninja jackhammer on fire, and never lets up..
Teaser clip is available online via:
'Katsuo' is a Japanese name, meaning 'victory' and notable for its masculinity...
and 'Stereo Jesus' is a song, which lodges itself forcefully in your brain within a few seconds. Beginning with a swirl of electronic fever, a pulsating drum kicks in which notches the track up to boiling point. Even before the vocal begins, it is a track with iron fists and toe-capped feet. It is reminiscent of Skrillex and Example. The promotional clip features Front Magazine model Rebecca Crow (A.K.A. Suicide Girl Katherine Suicide). She features in the upcoming video, which I have been told with a sly grin, will be 'controversial'. Keep an eye out for that.
Ordinarily any track that features electronic programming and does not contain Thom Yorke or Beth Gibbon's voice on it, I am not a fan of. A lot of contemporary electronic and dub step music can be considered flyweight and soulless- too greater emphasis on the sound, with little consideration given to a strong vocal or crucial lyric. Muse's ill-advised foray into dub step proved this perfectly, and showed that it was not a genre for which they were well suited. As soon as Katsuo's vocal pronounces itself at 0:14, any fears that I did have were allayed. His voice is accented and strong, but allows the lyrics to be easily heard and understood. During the chorus, the vocal reminds me of Justin Timberlake, circa. 'FutureSex/LoveSounds'.
Being a songwriter who has a heavy leaning towards vocals and lyrics; I always look for great artists who can command both arenas. Very few underground or independent artists master both, relying heavily on impressive vocals and vacuous words, or compelling lyrics but let down by weak vocals. Katsuo is- thankfully- no unadulterated Jason Mraz or Ke$sha when it comes to words. The song deals with the idea that 'we all need something to believe in', with Katsuo imploring: 'I could be your Stereo Jesus'.
As the chorus hits, there is a transmogrification, with a falsetto element in the vocals which is assured and pleasing. The chorus is memorable and repeated to great effect during the midpoint of the track. From the 3 minute mark there is another shift. The electronics shape shift, duck, weave and dive; there is an effable sense of change afoot. There is some shredding action, and a brief sea change around 3:11/3:12, which, to my mind, is the one of the highlights of the track. In a sense the best moments remind me of 'Why You Wanna Trip On Me' and 'Remember The Time' from Michael Jackson's Dangerous (one of my top 5 albums). It has less blunt demystification than the former, and shares the ardent longing of the latter.
Overall it is an impressive song that will not leave your head any time soon. It is memorable, catchy, and impressive indeed complete with a strong vocal and lyrics. For anyone like me who worships at the shrine of rock, soul, stoner rock and metal such as myself, it is time to reappropriate any misapprehension. 'Stereo Jesus' is a track which demands your attention. It stays true to its dub step roots, and will appeal particularly to its hardcore. If you like Skrillex Chase and Status, Example and their ilk, you will love this. However it has a jour de vive, that means it will also ignite fans of Jackson, Prince and has a testicular attitude that will enrapture rock fans as well.
Katsuo is touring and Alex Larkman (Katsuo) is formulating many new songs, as well. Until recently I had not heard of Katsuo, but have gone back through his annals, and am a converted fan. He want your respect, your patronage and he want victory...
...'Stereo Jesus' is going to be the track, to achieve that.
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