The Stereo State

Have All My Friends Gone Deaf?

Written by: PP on 24/03/2012 16:35:32

Sometimes the best way to describe a band's sound is not through band comparisons and genre pigeonholing, although both are valuable tools to quickly suggest to a reader whether s/he should continue reading. Here I'm talking about words like 'honest' and 'genuine', which often go together in describing a very particular group of bands: usually those with roaring vocalists who sound like they are pouring their heart and soul out into the vocal lines. They are also typically supported by an impeccably tight instrumental department behind them, which ranges from mid tempo riffing to high-octane punk rock, while always retaining that melodic ring to the guitars and a thumping bass line on the background. Whether you perceive them as catchy and memorable depends entirely on how many listens you afford the songs, as the choruses aren't your instant hits and sing-along ones, rather than grower-type melodies that don't grab the listener on the first listen.

That is a description that can be applied to a wide range of punk bands from the gravelly ones in Hot Water Music, Jawbreaker, and Small Brown Bike to the indie-flavored ones in Samiam and Attack In Black, and now also to Massachusetts four-piece The Stereo State after their impressive debut album "Have All My Friends Gone Deaf?". They sport that very sound, the genuine and honest one that sounds like it's spilling over the edges as their vocalist croons and roars his way through melodies that are at first subtle, but open up with immense depth and longevity once you get into them properly. It's no wonder they have received rave reviews across the net for this album.

Once you first listen to tracks like "Ahhgust", "No Constellation", "Tug Of War", "Cherry Street" and others, they may sound bland and uninspired, relying a little too much on the misty indie-flavor for that nostalgia-driven soundscape (think late 90s). But it doesn't take many listens to start appreciating the subtlety and ingenuity in these melodies. Eventually, they glue themselves to your mind much in the same way as Samiam, Nothington and Hot Water Music's melodies have done in the past. They are unassuming and don't force themselves on you, rather allowing the listener to use their imagination and own time to become acquainted, which is usually the best way to leave a thoroughly lasting impression in any music scene. But most importantly, like I've mentioned several times in this review already, they sound heartfelt and honest, like the band really means what they are playing and singing about. That's why The Stereo State are slowly charming their way into the minds of fans of the Gainesville-sounding bands as of late. "Have All My Friends Gone Deaf?" is not a masterpiece necessarily, but it's yet another example of a solid band in a crowded style that doesn't seem to have any black sheep within it.


Download: No Constellation, Tug Of War, Horse To Hell
For the fans of: Samiam, Attack In Black, Nothington
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 04.10.2011
Creator-Destructor Records

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