Pseudo-Nouveau/Fifty-Fifty (Shadow Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Sonic, hypnotizing electronica with enchanting vocals, Sneakster - the collaboration between Seefeel's Mark Clifford and vocalist Sophie Hinkley - is as endearing as it is stirring. Soulful, soothing grooves intertwined with passionate beats, Pseudo-Nouveau/Fifty-Fifty is the US debut of Pseudo-Nouveau with three bonus tracks (the Fifty-Fifty EP), which were remixed by Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie.
From the opening "Whileaway," with its fearless drum loop and sweeping vocals, to the twisting beats of "Splinters," Sneakster breathe you in and hold you there while mesmerizing you with lusciously charming and physically addicting grooves.
The windy keyboards of "Stolen Letter" add an eerie, dark alley at minute curiosity and the seductive vocals of Hinkley lure you in, despite your fears and reservations. The Robin Guthrie remix is even more mysteriously engaging, capturing you in the deep beats and swooning vocals, while the darkness intrigues you to the point of submission.
The slow, take-your-time vibe of "Static" freezes you with its chilling vocals while the arcane groove flows freely, trickling into your mind and calling out your name. Then the out-in-the-open "Heavy Heat, Heavy Time" places a deep, heavy sound on you and nearly crushes you with its intensity and piping hot beats.
Romantically challenging and ever-so-engaging, Sneakster's provocatively personal sound hides, awaiting your arrival before they turn the key and open the doors into their world - one trip you won't soon forget. I'll give it a B.