reviewed by Michael Thomas
There’s nothing like a relationship, broken or otherwise, to spark an album. Eden Rohatensky seems to have a never-ending well of songs that she is spreading around more and more distinct projects — the dark pop of Orphan Mothers; the minimalist solo project Eden the Cat; and now the synth-pop project Also Also Also.
Perusing the track list of Stock Neon will make it obvious how much relationships inform the music (as is looking at her Twitter feed) but the journey is unexpected. Through these 12 songs, Rohatensky (or, at least the narrator of the songs) is a pursuer, a warrior, a killer and a target. There’s a dark cloud that hangs over everything, even in the happiest-sounding songs on the album.
At the beginning of the album, she is already in conflict with herself over how to handle the breakup of her fast romance. The appropriately titled “Waltz Between the Head and the Heart” is the most minimalist song on the album, just a video-game-esque midi beat as she tries to figure out what she wants to do. It doesn’t become clear what she’s going to do next, nor is it clear if she’ll even get over it — until the final song.
But before the end arrives, in her “Dream” she thinks about what might have been. She thinks about owning “a house by a stream and a little minivan” and growing a garden, but of course, none of that is going to happen. Things get a lot darker on the album than just dealing with emotional fallout in silence. “Better Whatever” considers the worst thing one can do to oneself, and although she sings “I know, I know, I know better,” it’s still a thought that crosses her mind.
She’s got a healthy supply of venom, too. In “I Love Sex,” she seems to purposely put on the most vapid voice possible and just repeats “I love sex” for a chorus. And there’s the two-minute attack that is “Bye Bye,” which I described in great detail in the latest Behind the Hoots.
In still other places she sees herself as the reason for the breakup (the eerily calm “Slayer”) and deals with the green-eyed monster in a frenzy (“Jealousy”) but she finally (at least on the surface) finds some peace with “Not in Love.” She knows she had a bad experience and nothing can change that; with big vocals and a lush soundscape, she proclaims it to the world.
Rohatensky says Stock Neon came from a dark period in her life, and it’s worth taking in as a whole package; it’s easy to get lost in the synths and the catchy beats she makes, but overall, it’s a vivid picture of a year in turmoil.
Top Tracks: “Bye Bye”; “Soldier”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)