47:07 min • Lindseystomp Music • 21 July, 2014
Little Bastard reviews
When I reviewed ‘dubstep violinist’ Lindsey Stirling’s self-titled debut album, which I quite liked, I found it didn’t totally work for me in terms of marrying the classical with the modern. I issued a challenge of sorts – for her to come back with a second album that felt less like dinner party music for the Waitrose set – and less like they were trying to make classical music “cool” and “accessible”. Since then, with acts like Clean Bandit, the whole dance/classical crossover has become more popular, so maybe now Lindsey’s debut wouldn’t seem so twee, but regardless, with second album Shatter Me she seems to have upped her game … and I couldn’t be happier.
Opening track, and first single ‘Beyond The Veil’, is a big fat monster of a track, with stunning strings and a drop to rival any dubstep banger. And this seems to be the blueprint for the rest of the album, because overall it really does succeed where her debut fell flat. Everything seems to have been upped a notch, and while the videos for her first album and EPs were engaging and sweet, the video for ‘Beyond The Veil’ is a full on MTV baiting, thunder-and-lightning dramatic piece of film. And it rocks as hard as the song does. The main genius of Shatter Me is its collaborations, something that the first album didn’t have – this really transports it past the dinner party and straight into the club. Making Lindsey’s violin ever so slightly less prominent, a more immediately dance orientated sound is forced to shine through. In fact, a couple of the vocal dance tracks made me forget whose album I was listening to. The title track, ‘Shatter Me’, with its massive dubstep weight and vocal by Lzzy Hale from rock band Halestorm, who are also amazing, is immense, and it’s hardly surprising this was a huge YouTube hit, reaching over 1.3 million views in 24 hours. Elsewhere, the storming ‘We Are Giants’ has a very similar effect. With vocals from Dia Frampton from the first season of The Voice in the USA, it’s a real stomper of a track, and could be a huge, euphoric club smash.
The only track that I can’t quite get down with is ‘V-Pop’, purely because its vocal melody is taken straight from dance hit ‘Rapture’ by iio, and I hold that song far too close to my heart to settle for an almost plagiaristic imitation. Even the ‘hoe-down’-esque ‘Round Table Revival’ doesn’t fall into the twee category that you fear it will at the start, due to the immense Vanessa Mae on acid production and violin distortion. The excellent ‘Night Vision’ is a fantastic mix of heavy distorted dance music and dramatic neo-classical, which is exhilarating to listen to. ‘Take Flight’ and ‘Ascendance’ also deserve mention for their brilliant use of frenetic dance meeting furious strings. It all works for me on some level, and has had me throwing myself around many a tube platform as it blasts through my headphones, complete with strange looks from fellow passengers.
The main thing people forget about classical music is that, once upon a time, it was pop music. So the fusion of the two should never be as difficult as they seem to be. Luckily for Stirling, she seems to have found a way to do it, and although not perfect, this album does go hard in all areas. I’ve always loved this style of music – from Vanessa Mae to Cirque du Soleil, I’ve had a penchant for modern, theatrical takes on classical music, so this album really is perfect for me. It successfully takes classical music out of the concert hall and into the rave, so much so that it could shoot the ever evolving neo classical world to a whole other level. Maybe the classical clubs will start playing dubstep and hard dance like this, which would please me immensely. For now, this is trailblazing enough for me, and I will look forward to the day that I hear Lindsey Stirling in a club and go crazy.
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