Stella Diana is back and better than ever. The Italian trio first caught our ear on the Revolution — The Shoegaze Revival compilation with Isabeau, a lo-fi Italian language post-punk inspired track that stood out with its reverberated Gang of Four vibe.
Their latest release, Nitocris, brings some of that same heavily rhythmic post-punk aesthetic, but with layers and layers of dreamscape slathered upon it like a laminate. The sound is dark and dreamy, ethereal and gloomy; the vibes are spacey as fuck.
Nitocrotis is fueled by mythology–its titles borrowed from Nubian gods and Egyptian rulers–and its sound is as dark and bejeweled as the tombs of the great pyramids. Dedu’n, named for the Nubian god of incense, is a bass-driven sonic windstorm with a soaring melody that worms its way through your chest into that part of your brain that keeps hooks playing uncontrollably and on repeat.
Echo and the Bunnymen and Joy Division are both name-checked in promo material and other reviews you’ll find scattered around the indienet, and that’s not incorrect. The driving 4-4 beats meet dark new wave textures much like the former, and a raw emotion that would make Ian Curtis proud is ever present.
If I were to make a more current comparison, I’d throw out another “stella…” act that’s done a fine job of fusing the new/post era in Stellastarr. Stellastarr without the swagger, perhaps. Take my favorite track off of Nitocris–its first single, Sulphur. A slow-burn that literally starts with a whisper as whirling synths gather and build, engulfing dreamy guitar hooks and reverberated vocals. It’s reminiscent in tone and substance to Stellastarr’s gorgeous, dark, and self-loathing On My Own.
There’s not a throwaway track on the LP. And, while the lo-fi production could be seen as a complement to the band’s dream-like sound, a cleaner run through the editing room would easily have bumped this album up a notch or two in our new rating system.
Check out Stella Diana on Facebook, then give their album a listen below the jump.
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