As blaring synthesizer chords assault you on the title track of the Stick’s first release, Fight Mode, you can’t help but think that shit’s going down. If the EP is the local Vancouver duo’s attempt to put their listeners into a fighting mood, they couldn’t have picked a better opening track.
SFU graduates Julian Hou and Michael Loncaric have a background in performance art, which plays an active part in their elaborate live performances.
The four-song EP demonstrates the Stick’s effective combination of hip-hop vocals and eclectic electronic production. Hou and Loncaric’s own concoction of rapping and singing (reminiscent of !!!’s “Must Be The Moon”) is possibly the highlight of the record, and the falsetto in “Pseudo Breaker” could almost be mistaken for a cameo appearance from TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone. The duo’s musicianship does not fall behind, with plenty of interesting timbres and head-bobbing beats to go around, particularly with the late-‘90s video game vibe of “The Great Kowloon” and the final two minutes of the album’s closer “Let’s Eat,” which builds into a powerful cacophony of percussion and synthesizers.
Fight Mode is available for purchase and free streaming on the Stick’s Bandcamp page and the duo will be performing at the Waldorf on May 10.