Stereo State - Crossing Canyons
Pop punk has a pretty odd and lengthy history, one with a load of stigma, parlor tricks, and clones upon clones upon clones of clones of bands. It was one of those genres that, despite having my own history with, I often wished utter destruction upon after hearing 6th or 7th rate New Found Glory bands and the recent perplexing rise of terrible breakdowns mixed in with mewing vocals. It's also a genre that is more and more one seemingly driven by teenage girls and guys pretending to be awkward heartthrobs in an attempt to bone them.
For some people, the original passion and drive and love of music never left, even as they aged. For those same people, they have grown considerably, matured in their skills, matured in their thoughts and emotions, and have been making incredible pop music aimed at genuinely bitter and unimpressed 30somethings. Though I've heard plenty of bands pull this off incredibly well, the band who first truly opened my eyes to the concept, Massachusetts' Stereo State, is by far my favorite.
"Crossing Canyons" belies its EP status by having the production quality and completeness of a full length, immediately mixing full tilt thrashed out pop punk with a couple of moderately paced slow burners. "Across The Susquehanna"s lonely angst combined with breakneck speed almost had me in tears the first time I heard it. The song gives an intelligent and well knowing nod to the emotions of lonesomely singing to yourself in the car, contained within a song seemingly lab crafted for such an activity.
Other lines on the record, such as "they've graduated thousands who will soon be in debt millions" in the incredible "American Bones" speak directly to a generation of people slowly entering an age they used to consider "old", which as we all know, fucking sucks a lot of the time.
The band also shows a bit of development and maturation since their last record, "Have All My Friends Gone Deaf?" A first listen by unsuspecting ears could easily pick out moments that could easily be found on more recent New Found Glory cuts, except caked in true emotion and effort instead of the utterly sterile studio magic that makes bands that size sound cold and calculated. These are songs written to be songs, written under the guise of real songwriting the way Springsteen or Cobain would have, not necessarily to simply fit into the genre being presented.
It's hard to pick out a top spot on a record like this, but I would probably say that "Say It Again" would easily seal the deal for anyone curious about The Stereo State. The entire EP is chillingly good though, even for a jaded hardcore kid/metalhead such as me. All 5 out of the 5 stars given, I mean wholeheartedly.
Genre: Punk Rock / Prog/Groove Metal
Label: Creator Destructor
Site: Related Link
Similar: Hot Water Music, Jawbreaker, Red City Radio
- Across The Susquehanna
- American Bones
- Say It Again
- On The Next Time
- The Flood