Review: Stats – Other People’s Lives
“I am an animal,” Ed Seed declares at the outset of this London six-piece’s debut, but that can’t be true. Stats are too disciplined to be animalistic, though they’d definitely make good pets: fun, energetic, but mischievous. That, perhaps, is why Elton John – who last spring dedicated a performance of Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me to his faithful but recently deceased hound – is a fan. Seed, however, has moved in heady circles for a while, having played in both La Roux’s and Dua Lipa’s bands, and one suspects his own project has set its sights higher than a daily stroll with ‘Captain Fantastic’. One might even say, were one to stretch the metaphor, that this dog wants its own day.
Stats might just get that, though admittedly they’re hardly unique. Other People’s Lives could sometimes be mistaken for LCD Soundsystem, most obviously on its title track, where elegant piano chords greet a sturdy bassline, the song’s bridge soon flaunting one of those stoned chants James Murphy adores. Lose It, too, sounds like the DFA mastermind remixing an ecstatic Pet Shop Boys anthem, Seed distracting us with arch, Neil Tennant-like reflections: “I left the back door unlocked/ For four straight days and nights/But nothing was taken/ I tell you/ You can’t rely on anyone anymore”.
Nonetheless, Stats adroitly adapts – rather than adopts – LCD’s characteristics, mining down to their original influences. You can hear Murphy in the tinny production of Raft’s vocals, but the song also starts like Eurythmics’ Love Is A Stranger before swerving towards Talking Heads, while the stop-start There Is A Story I Tell About My Life might be Datarock covering Depeche Mode. Stats are haunted, too, by David Bowie, whose Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) guitar solos and dreamy Heroes melancholy are effectively paired with the persistent simplicity of U2’s With Or Without You on the wonderful Never Loved Anyone. Even that opener, I Am An Animal, can’t hide its fondness for Fame. You can, it seems, teach a new dog old tricks.
Written by Wyndham Wallace. Released on Memphis Industries.