Stoltz’ jump to Castle Face last year brought on a glut of creativity, with one of his most eccentric releases, In Triangle Time, and an extra helping of short form goodies for the hardcore heads. Que Arua shakes the erratic rabbit holes that made Triangle Time fun, but not necessarily consistent. Stoltz buttons down into a synth-pop/new wave enclave that’s shining frothy ’70s licks in a mirrored ball gloss and losing itself in a plume of fog machine echo. The record takes a deep dive into the aesthetic, finding him further from garage than he’s ever been before, but sounding confident in his stylistic tack all the same.
The songs are smudged in the main stage melancholy that churned the ’70s glam Argonauts into ’80s mixtape hereos – digesting post-Roxy comedowns into the kind of tear-streaked earworms that lead Echo, The Psychedelic Furs or The Chameleons to darkened bedrooms across the decade. Whether or not this has to do with Stoltz taking up sideman duties in a reformed Echo and The Bunnymen remains to be seen, but he’s proving to outpace any mere revivalists as far as capturing the spirit of a time and place. Each new listen on this record proves that the studio is truly Stoltz’ home and he remains an exemplary pupil of how his favorite records achieved infamy. This makes Que Aura a case study that won’t let itself out of your head for weeks.
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