Straplocked + Ray Gun Hero / Stalemate
What happens when two street weathered vigilantes cross each other on a rainy, neon soaked night? Mortal combat, that's what happens! Of course, these are the best of the best, so when Straplocked and Ray Gun Hero meet there's only one possible outcome. Stalemate! Who ends up being the winner here? Us, as listeners, that's who! It's like the old joke, "What happens when Mr. T and Chuck Norris go into the same bar together?" The answer here? Pulse pounding synthwave, soaring guitars, hooks that are impossible to escape, and a pairing that can't be beaten.
There's no mistaking the mood here. Stalemate is shrouded in darkness and mystery, just like any vigilante tale should be. The Mafer artwork for the album sets the stage and lets your imagination do the rest. Thankfully Straplocked and Ray Gun Hero write very visual music...music that you can sink your teeth into as if it were a real, physical thing. This is easier said than done, obviously, or every single album you listened to would be an amazing, immersive experience. Unfortunately this isn't the case, and that's why I always try to make a point to shine a light on artists who have the magic touch. Two of them together doubling down on a release makes the effect even stronger!
While this isn't exactly billed as a Straplocked vs Ray Gun Hero album, I'm totally taking it as one. I'm a HUGE fan of versus albums as a niche subsect of electronic music. They've existed for decades, usually in EP from, with a wide variety of artists having a go at each other's music. It's a ton of fun and you get sounds that would never come out of the respective artists alone, which make releases like this a very special treat indeed.