Sound Tribe dropped a studio album yesterday. The Universe Inside is a disco-pop record, complete with vocals? They also dappled the new material with interludes and snippets, furthering the disjointed feeling and confusing this fan. Too many tracks are dominated by vocals, curbing the band's ability to make it funky. This structure also inhibits STS9 from carving out their jazz-like interpretations that create dance-inducing crescendos. What I normally groove on is their ability to blend those jams with their more modern EDM or hip hop sounding bangers, which grow like an ocean swell, giving purpose to movement. Their live shows feel unique and inventive, renewed with a willingness to reassess their past—due in large part to the immense skill of Alana.
Singing dominates the second track; "Out of this World" morphs momentarily into a new-school-sounding Funky Town before returning to the bubble gum. Next is the disco-heavy, "Get Loud," reminiscent of Daft Punk's Get Lucky. Again, the vocals are too pronounced for this fan. An uninspiring "Give and Take," reminds me of a bad DJ trying to hype a glow-in-the-dark skittles party at some festival. "Elsewhere" stands on some cool jazzy legs and is the glimmer of hope on this record. The heavenly named, "Sun, Moon & Stars" abruptly jolts intellectual wandering with its glitzy mirrorball sound. I kept wanting the potential of Moon & Stars to transform into something nasty. "Worry No More" is another track with hidden possibility, there's definitely a get down in there at the 3:25 mark. Universe Inside also offers a few familiar (live) songs along the way. Ending with the near-gospel-inspired title track isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's not a good thing either.
This is the first STS9 album that I don't want to own. I will always respect artistic freedom. All artists should create what they want, or what pleases them. I may not cop this record and dare I say, I may not hit this tour. I do however remain a fan.