Satellite Stories | Phrases To Break The Ice
There can be no debate about the recent glut of excellent bands from the Baltic States, and it appears that this trend may be continuing. Phrases To Break The Ice, the debut effort from Finnish four piece Satellite Stories has boosted their entry into the crowded indie-pop scene and foretells the potential of excellent things to come. After wrapping up their recent tour of Finland, it is certain that many are eagerly awaiting announcements of what the band’s future plans are.
First single ‘Anti-Lover’ sets the tone for what you can expect throughout their fizzing debut – upbeat tunes that aim to do no more than make you get up and dance. The guitar sounds like it was lifted from Two Door Cinema Club or Walk the Moon, with poppy little riffs that get the blood pumping. The vocals of singer Esa Mankinen seemingly crafted solely for this type of music, complementing the instrumentals perfectly.
Further along, another single ‘Sirens’ continues along this same road. However, while clearly the standout track of the album, everything still doesn’t quite click. The lyrics attempt desperately to convey the frustration of a relationship gone sour, but one can’t feel anything other than the irrepressible urge to dance to the pop melodies and upbeat guitar phrases. This overall disconnection from the lyrics doesn’t tank the song, but definitely keeps it from ascending as high as it probably should.
Unfortunately, most of the other songs on the album sound very similar; stabbing, needling guitar hooks try and distract from angular melodies. This kind of repetitiveness is an unfortunate drag, holding it back from being a superb album. To the band’s credit, they attempt to break out of this funk with the slower ballad ‘Mt. Foreverest’. Sadly, they don’t manage to pull off the emotional resonance, making it clear that Satellite Stories are, at least at this point, a one-trick pony.
Despite this, Phrases To Break The Ice remains a good album if one can look at it for what it is and temper expectations accordingly. Satellite Stories have done something that many bands never do, they’ve found “their” sound, but they still have room to grow. If they can add a bit of variation to their repertoire, they can be one of the better indie-pop bands out there.