The Stalactites describe themselves as “virtual” post-rock band, which is shorthand for a set of musicians who live remote from each other and record their instrumental parts individually. It could all be a complete mess when they join together but there is evidence of telepathy in their first album ‘Dark Matters’.
Johnny B. plays guitar, Rudy Hellio contributes piano, guitar and programming duties whilst violin is the weapon of choice for Sophie Hebbelynck. The group tend to fare less well when they unleash their rock guitars. The histrionics on ‘So Long, Kuiper’, for example, make The Stalactities sound rather dated and only serve to undermine the efforts of the other musicians. However, these moments are rare. After the melancholic ‘Axis Of Seasons’, ‘Reentry’ is the first key moment where the mood and tone vary between mournful and pretty melodies, the enigmatic ‘Spirals’ echoes the haunting atmospherics of early Cocteau Twins whilst ‘Phaeton’ builds layer upon layer of elegantly crafted drama.
‘Dark Matters’ takes a while to truly convince but on the whole the three musicians are clearly on the same wavelength. For this is surpisingly uplifting music which also comes equipped with a sense of mystery.
Star FK Radium, Dif Juz