Betweenzone - Means Of Control - Stereo Stickman

Betweenzone Means Of Control


Conceptual depth and equally provocative design introduce a powerful and enthralling new album, from the genre-fusing, Hannover-based creative producer and artist combo Betweenzone.

From the outset we’re presented with a quick-paced orchestral-electro arrangement, cinematic in its fusion of riffs from synth and guitar, with an eighties-esque almost spoken vocal thread adding stability alongside.

As Brothers and Sisters gathers further momentum, we find ourselves immersed in a kind of partly rock and partly dance-like realm, with darker poetic undertones ultimately keeping things well-rooted amidst the uniqueness of Betweenzone. Expect subtle twists of Muse and Pendulum in equal parts, all softened by a clear humanity and character of voice.

We Got No seems to quickly strengthen that personality aspect – a simpler, shorter melody and clear vocal traits standing taller amidst this humble, colourful yet easy-going arrangement. The song is catchy, expressive, melodically satisfying, and shines light on a whole new side of the project. The lyrics remain a stirring pot of contemplation, prompting further thought and reflecting on the state of society in a somewhat mysterious or vague and intriguing fashion. An earworm with a welcomed sense of depth – an early highlight.

Instrumentally this project is an absolute gem, the variety is immense but never at the cost of intention or skill. Consider the shift to a funky bass-led Beautiful Souls, a dash of The Eels rising higher still in that vocal tone, and a suddenly bright chorus maintaining the songwriting strength but with softer strums and trip-hop rhythms all sharing the space. As ever, the story and sentiments are key, but the emotion and design united helps really let those qualities connect. This one is an addictive and interesting, scene-setting and soulful favourite.

Golden Brown kicks in with instant familiarity, a nostalgic melody meeting those orchestral layers for another catchy progression. Then we move into the atmospheric details and distorted guitars of Tired Of Being Dead – a recapturing of any wandering attention, a mellow yet gritty reflection of self, personal yet relatable, and compelling as it gathers energy and emotion.

A touch of playful lightness and colour emerges for No Doubt, a mainstream stomp of a rhythm and easy guitars backing a near-falsetto vocal briefness and lyrics that again question the very nature of existence and the world we share. Nineties indie rock akin to Oasis briefly reaches out during those flickers of guitar solo.

The softly hypnotic Flower Lady makes a sultry appearance towards the end of the album, a strong groove amidst plenty of space for the instrumental to really embrace the listener – arrangement matters, and Betweenzone have nailed it. Another highlight, but from an album loaded with them – Means Of Control increasingly proves itself to be something of an independent and fascinating masterpiece.

I Feel Loved brings a funky, mildly tribal and rock-infused progression, an indie anthem with a seductively lower-toned lead and a chorus of voices for that essential crescendo. Unexpected again, but cleverly placed as the penultimate track.

Afterwards we return to a deeply thoughtful, fingerstyle-guided realm of unignorable conceptual presence, for the enchanting closer Bertolt Brecht II. EDM and rock again join forces for a simple, electro-kissed ending that loops and loops, leaving its central voice, melody and mood all lingering once the project comes to an end.

Betweenzone have taken the creative reins entirely here, redirecting the current landscape with style and blending just enough familiarity and the unknown across an engaging array of thoughts, feelings and soundscapes.

Means of Control is superb, a brilliant listen, enjoyable at first and later thought provoking, with some new quality or idea pouring through with greater poignancy on each revisit. Nobody else quite brings together genres in such a likable way, and especially not with so much concept and consciousness intertwined. An absolute must for 2024. Listen in full.

Find Betweenzone on TikTok & Instagram.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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