Dreampop veterans Stella Diana are back with the awaited follow-up to Nitocris (2016), which inspired rave reviews.
Over the course of five albums and nearly two decades of existence, the Italian combo has become recognised as one of the best shoegaze acts around, thanks to their master songcraft, their hypnotic rhythmic section and soaring, textured guitars.
They have managed to grow a sizeable international following despite having been singing entirely in Italian until 2015, and while they keep exploring new sonic frontiers, their style remains uniquely recognisable.
No accident that the bewitching track ‘Do Androids‘ features guitars of Rev Rev Rev’s Sebastian Lugli.
In this new album 57 every song has been composed in total freedom, without pressure and without schemes, aiming to create a dreamlike, delicate and unreal sound.
Dreamlike as the hermetic lyrics, used only as an extra colour in each song, even if, in general, what they describe is always the loneliness and lack of
communication between people.
Named after the ancient name of planet Venus (Morning Star), Stella Diana were formed in 1998 in Southern Italy’s city of Naples by Dario Torre (vocals and guitar) and Giacomo Salzano (bass guitar), joined by Giulio Grasso on drums.
They bring together the layers of shimmering guitars of bands like Ride and Lush, the dark wave atmospheres of Bauhaus and Joy Division, and
new wave structures reminiscent of Echo And The Bunnymen and The Chameleons.
But Stella Diana are not at all a mere sum of their influences.
As Primal Music‘s Del Chaney put it, they “meld together a heady brew of driving post-punk, melodic dreampop and hazy shoegaze to produce musical soundscapes so mesmerising that they literally take my breath away”.
In accordance with their strong DIY principles, 57 was recorded and mixed by bass player Giacomo Salzano, and produced by the whole band in their own
recording studio, allowing to keep complete control over the music.
The obsession with simplicity is present also in the cover art. A blood-red number on a black canvas, but a number that is not immediately clear, looking like a mark, or a piece of cave drawing.