Chicago darkwave trio Staring Problem sweeten their chilly postpunk on Eclipse | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Chicago darkwave trio Staring Problem sweeten their chilly postpunk on Eclipse


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In 2010, Chicago underground music maven Patrick Scott (formerly of My Lai and 97-Shiki) launched postpunk label Modern Tapes with the self-titled debut cassette from Carbondale coldwave three-piece Staring Problem. The band have since relocated to Chicago, and Scott now lives in New York City, but their relationship has remained intact: Staring Problem’s first vinyl full-length, Eclipse, arrives as Modern Tapes celebrates its tenth anniversary. Eclipse wears its DIY pride on its sleeve, and the rawness and cavernous echo of Staring Problem’s lo-fi recordings keep their most skeletal arrangements from sounding too thin. Staring Problem draw heavily from 80s goth and postpunk, though their deft melodies give even their coldest songs a therapeutic warmth—and they sometimes break from the genre’s obvious reference points with infusions of classic girl-group sweetness. On the forlorn “Primrose,” bandleader Lauren Owen sings about trudging through tragedy, her bereft but unbowed vocals reaching for the better tomorrow that can only come if she keeps moving.   v

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