Take a look at Stumbleine’s Bandcamp page and it gives you a good idea of the effect of the music on offer. Bright lights are dappled through and around wispy, windswept hair, images are superimposed on each other, making it difficult to tell where one begins and the other ends, and there is a feeling of overexposure to light, as if the photographer has gone for days without sleep.
The music itself is made by a producer whose identity is elusive, but who names himself after a Smashing Pumpkins B-side. So far so misleading, for his art bears very little in resemblance to that band, being a blend of beats that might be termed dubstep, textures that might be termed shoegaze and vocals that might be termed dream pop. In the event neither flag is accurate, for the resultant mixture is a shimmering haze of hypnotic beats, textures and melodies that seek to enchant the listener pretty much from start to finish.
By and large, the music succeeds in its aim. The single Kaleidoscope is the obvious standout, with impressive urgency to its beat making, but The Beat My Heart Skips is notable for its yearning qualities, brought forward courtesy of vocalist CoMa, while Fade Into You offers a soothing five and a half minutes under the watchful vocals of Steffaloo. The bright instrumentals such as Cherry Blossom and Capulet offer helium-infused charm through their vocals and treble heavy textures, their solidly constructed beats offering a reassuring presence.
The album is best experienced in one sitting rather than a track at a time, for it needs a bit of time to cast its spell. Once that is done the listener has the comforting sensation of being wrapped in music cotton wool or soaring through the stratosphere as each chord change brings a new breeze.
A valid criticism of the Stumbleine style would be that it deals in hazy feelings and emotions rather than anything concrete, so those looking for conventional songs would be encouraged to look elsewhere for much of the duration. Yet those looking to capture a mood, to dive in to something soothing for just over half an hour, would be well advised to kick back and let the music wash over them. Who cares what genre it is when it’s this comforting?