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Album review: Roman Spektor - Functionality (2020)

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Functionality

Another lockdown album, released in mid-April, Israeli singer/songwriter Roman Spektor’s Functionality is a well-delivered slice of post-rock that dips into a host of different genres. Spektor works as a sound engineer and apart from producing the album he wrote and performs all the songs, with Gali Spektor adding alto saxophone on Functionality and Selling Doors, and Didi S.B. who provides additional vocals on Look for...

The whole album has a unified feeling thanks to the constancy of the vocal delivery, with skittering rhythmic patterns, distant guitars, misty keyboards and electronica. Having said that, all the songs are marked by something distinct: the great bass line on the brief opening track Check Box; the spaces between splashes of electronics and trip hop rhythms, relating the tale of family drama on Thank You Father; the even more sparse Look For where bleak electronica mixed with world music motifs proves highly effective, and where Didi S.B’s vocals work well with Spektor’s, creating tomorrow’s equivalent of Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. Passivity is the most proggy with flute like patches and alternating reflective and semi-aggressive vocal passages, plus a nice, restrained guitar solo.

The instrumental range might be rather narrow but it’s all used to good effect, creating an album with a strong introspective feeling. If there’s any fault with the album it would be filling each track with vocals and restricting the development of the instrumental atmospheres but it’s certainly adventurous and, for a debut album, a pretty good start