Their affiliation with Blue Swan Records (venture of Dance Gavin Dance axe-man, Will Swan) suggesting a certain amount of post-hardcore styling, the unrestrained structural contortions of ‘Allomaternal’ undeniably fits the bill when it comes to ticking the same boxes as their scene peerage. Yet, dismissing Stolas as merely riding coat-tails would do this Las Vegas quartet a grave disservice, their expansive aggression offering up lofty ideas and delirious energy in equal measure.
Marrying torrents of unhinged technical fury with wistful constraint, the likes of ‘Claw Point’ and ‘Fair Chase’ do a fantastic job of dispensing scatter-shot violence between moments of sumptuous melodic euphoria. Indeed, it’s this ability from the band to seamlessly merge light and shade which sees ‘Allomaternal’, given time, so richly satisfying.
It also says much that the record’s two late coming high points, the beauteous clean climax of ‘Hiraeth’ and the soaring pop dream world that is ‘Losing Wings’, find the band thoroughly on top of their melody game. Stolas remain intensely impressive when they discharge those youthfully animated instrumental wig-outs (check out the guitar leads in the opening title-track for some particularly grin inducing abandon). Yet, it’s a wonder that if the band were to channel themselves more towards these moments of striking fragility rather than cathartic anger, they would be onto something truly special.
Written by Tony Bliss (@TBliss88)