Classic Album Review

Classic Album Review: Nemo’s “In Stereo”


The underground rock scene of the late 90’s and the early 2000’s has always been a charming era to me. Bands like Hum, Bowery Electric, Southpacific and many more brought the space rock genre back to life in many ways. Whether it be combining the genre with midwest emo, post-rock or shoegaze, the result almost always ended up sounding great.

This “space rock revival” scene captured the glory of outer space and the joy of humanity’s monumental achievement in exploration. Bands attempted to match the feeling of the temporally appropriate film, “2001: A Space Odyssey” with its grandiose and horizon-widening perspective. This narrative was pushed to the absolute limit with the album “In Stereo” by Nemo.

“In Stereo”

Darrell Simpson, Patrick McGuire and Todd Harapiak made up the band Nemo, which released its only work as a band, “In Stereo,” on June 8, 1999. The album consists of 8 songs, totalling 66 minutes in length, with the last song, “Space Suit,” taking up almost half of that runtime.

“In Stereo” combines space rock, shoegaze and metal in an extremely satisfying fashion. This album feels like you are strapped to the side of a rocket engine as it propels into deep space. The album has some very artful additions to it that make it feel all the more atmospheric. Some examples are the beeping electronics throughout the album, which resemble spaceship modules, and the playful reverb on some brighter guitar parts that sound like satelite dishes sending out signals to space. Also, in “Bleary-Eyed Me,” the distortion on the vocals resembles the radio between mission control and the team onboard the spacecraft.


Not only are the band members geniuses at nailing the atmosphere, but they do a pretty good job of making some solid, earwormy riffs. For example, “King Valley 55” sounds like the combination of Blur’s more poppier side, and Have A Nice Life’s cathartically heavy instruments. “Bedhead” is a groovy, jumpy song that sounds like if Spiritualized listened to Primus. “Hyperdrive” feels like it is a child of the 2020’s emo/shoegaze revival scene twenty years before it was supposed to happen.

“Space Suit,” the closing track, is my favorite song on the album. Starting with mountains of reverb, the song slowly builds into a masterpiece of density, with one of the most gut-wrenching guitar tones I’ve ever heard. After continuing on for six minutes, the riff dissolves into a heavy, intoxicating drone, with more off-kilter guitars leading. I would like to imagine this as a spacecraft losing contact with the rest of humanity and slowly inching into deep space. The drone fades out after about fifteen minutes, and we are left with silence for the remaining runtime. Whether or not the silence at the end is intentional, no one knows. I like to think this represents all contact with the Earth being lost, the craft succumbing to the silence and blackness of space.


Nemo’s “In Stereo” shows not only the wonders of space travel with its depth-defying highs, heavy and glorius riffs and soaring vocals, but also the horror of having your back face humanity’s reality, facing a universe that no human has explored as deep as you will.