Monday, 17 March 2014

STAG - ALBUM REVIEW

StaG - Difference 
StaG - Difference

There's nothing wrong with a bit of over confidence in moderation but, as an Englishman, I've never been very good at that sort of thing - it's just not cricket old bean. StaG, on the other hand, are very much American and so is there manager who has proclaimed the quartet to be "the greatest band in the world". It's a tall claim and one that is almost always going to be wrong as music is produced so fast these days that it's impossible to compare but, for sake of argument, let's see what Alexis the Manager is getting so excited about shall we?

The 14 track beast of an album starts off with 'Too Late Now' which is sees the band in mellow mood with one of the more subdued starts to an LP I've ever heard - there's that supreme confidence again. 'Summerfoot' continues on the subdued vibe but with a slightly more driving melody that has night-time driving music written all over it. These guys love a faded intro and that's never more apparent than on 'Piece It Together Kid' which spends about two minutes floating out of the speakers without any specific place to go, like the dust you can see all around you when the sun shines through your window on the first day of Spring. Out of this malaise comes 'JPTW', though, which is much more like it in all its melancholy Vampire Weekend glory while 'I Think I'll Shout' has elements of the Maccabees or Foals about it in a very, very good way. It's back to the subdued soundscapes on 'Sailor' though and, while I can honestly say I've heard hundreds of worse bands, I could probably say I've heard a few better as well. It's not that the music is bad, far from it, I just haven't found much to hook me in yet.

Having said that, the beginning of 'Don't Drown Me Out' is an enticing wall of feedback and shuddering guitars that is just begging for a My Bloody Valentine roar but it just fades out only for the electro beats of 'Wayill' to crank in to life beneath the lazily dreamy guitars. Somewhat sadly 'It Doesn't Matter' is not a cover of the song that The Rock once rapped so convincingly on but is, instead, a simple tale of infatuation set to the background of some lo-fi Metronomy style melodies and impromptu outbursts. There is a lovely lilt and personality to 'Pick Me Up' that you can just hear wafting across a field at a festival this summer but 'Tunnelvision' has a slightly more experimental feel to it with a clever use of vocals and a satisfying crescendo of guitars, not to mention the growling bass line. The soft shuffle of 'Here It Is' and Arthurian mystical swirl of 'But What's My' certainly single this out as a dream pop kinda album but final track 'Difference' almost has a Django Django energy and feel to it as it builds in to a riotous send off. Not the best band in the world, I can say that with a certain amount of conviction, but it definitely has a place in the world at the dreamier end of your listening spectrum.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/heyitsstag

Live Dates:

18th March - Burt's Tiki Lounge, Salt Lake City

4th April - Milk Bar, San Francisco

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