Artist: Dope Stars Inc.
Genre(s): Electronic Rock
Subgenres(s): Dance Rock
Length: 59 minutes
Language(s): English, German
Label(s): Metropolis Records, Trisol Music Group
01. 10,000 Watts
02. Infection 13
03. Platinum Girl
04. Mark a Star
06. Generation Plastic
07. Rebel Riot
08. Theta Titanium
09. Self Destructive Corp.
10. Plug ‘n’ Die
11. Defcon 5
Dope Stars Inc. Neuromance Review
Neuromance is the first album by Italian electronic rock band Dope Stars Inc. Naming the album after the cyberpunk novel Neuromancer by author William Gibson, Dope Stars Inc frequently reference dystopian and technological themes in their lyrics which are spliced in with their dance rock hybrid sound.
Right off the bat the listener will find that Dope Stars Inc. lean heavily to the dance side of their influences with the rock side being secondary in most cases. The first song, 10,000 Watts, begins with a stadium crowd shouting and chanting before a garbled robotic voice queues the band to start with a steady rhythm composed of a simple drum machine loop and overlying synthesisers. The guitar doesn’t come into full swing until the chorus and the heavily distorted tone contrasts with the upbeat synthesiser sounds but at the same time it compliments singer Victor Love’s throaty voice.
C-Beams is instrumental aside from some small film samples and it closes Neuromance as one of the more pure electronic songs in that it concentrates on synth driven melodies and the drum machine until the bridge which introduces a low rumbling guitar riff and a stomping drumbeat that changes the tone of the song entirely. On the other hand Theta Titanium is as strong as the name suggests and concentrates almost exclusively on the abrasive guitar. Victor Love almost shouts some of his lyrics here but the real anomaly is that at near 3 minutes into the song everything cuts out and is replaced exclusively with a dance section that slowly builds up for 2 minutes and makes you forget about the punishing nature of the first part of the song before throwing you right back into it.
Platinum Girl is a love song that alternates between a rock verse that is also somewhat reflected in the percussion and a frantic yet brief electronic chorus. This, along with Make a Star, are of a slower tempo than many other songs on Neuromance but the latter seems to have been on the receiving end of a severe brick wall production job that makes it particularly difficult to listen to despite making uncharacteristic use of an acoustic guitar and a melodic guitar solo on one of the songs that focuses on the rock side of their sound.
Despite being Italian all of the lyrics are sung in English with the exception of a verse that is repeated in 10,000 Watts which, as curve ball, is in German. Vyperpunk seems to be about expressing self-loathing and dehumanisation through a virtual reality (“just giving me a VR-place/and kill me every time you want/keep loading shit into my head/it makes me feel like an empty drone”) and digital democracy is referenced in Rebel Riot (“all the networks are casting their own votes/that’s an auction/choosing for election/sweat is running over and over”). Theta Titanium is an apocalyptic song about the destruction and subsequent evacuation of Earth during a war which the protagonist returns to sometime in the future (“I see my Earth again yeah/but I can see just through/the windows of my ship/I see my Earth again yeah/unrecognizable, destroyed by human race”).
While Neuromance does have some short comings, particularly in terms of the overall quality of the lyrics, these can be put down to the fact that Dope Stars Inc. are not native speakers of English and this will improve over time as they progress in their career. Dope Stars Inc. has a unique sound and a lot of potential so it will be interesting to hear how they bridge the gap between rock and electronic music, which is quiet a task in its own right, on their future output.
Victor Love: Lead vocals, guitar, synthesizers, drum machine
Alex Vega: Guitar
Darin Yevonde: Bass guitar