Synth-Pop and soul are rarely grouped together; in fact the pairing comes off almost as an oxymoron. Soul is a readily organic sound whereas Synth Pop lies on the fringes of electronic music, sharing lineage with the likes of Depeche Mode and Daft Punk. It is perhaps a feat that local D.C. band, The Walking Sticks, have bridged the gap between the natural and electronic, marking a spot between the end of dream pop and the beginning of soul. The keystone of their sound lies in the minimalistic approach of brothers Max and Spencer Ernst who, against all popular trends, opt out of over styling their music into glittery confusion. The brothers, like all good artists, preserve only what needs to be, and manage to create an unwavering and full-bodied ambience.
Then there is singer Chelsea Lee. It is hard not to delve into clichés when describing her voice; it’s raw, it’s powerful, and it’s beautiful. When I first listened to their EP I was, at the expense of yet another cliché, stunned. It is a rare thing to come across pipes like her, in indie or mainstream circles. Her voice is expansive, and possesses the ability to coat the band’s synthesizers into an uncharacteristically warm and expressive instrument. Listen to her on tracks like “Real Thing” and “Send The Night,” which can be found on their EP Send The Night.
For the live show aficionados, check out the band this Saturday (opening for Olivia Mancini & the Mates) at the Black Cat, and come to know the rising stars of the D.C. music scene.
And, almost most importantly, the EP: