Straight ahead, no apologies rock and roll. Yeah!
A bad day writing is when I sit here listening to an album, thinking, “Well what in the hell am I going to say about this?” A good day writing is when I sit here listening to an album thinking, “How in the hell am I going to say everything I want to say about this?”
Today is a good day. Because Tara Viland is a wonderful, smart, well-connected lady, she put me in touch with a new band in town thinking I might want to write about them. The band is called StereoFeet, they have a debut album and they are phenomenal.
Chris Graham and Leon Walker are the creative force behind StereoFeet and while this is the point where I’d generally discuss their musical pedigrees, there’s no point this time around because whatever they’ve done before seems irrelevant compared to what they’re doing now.
The album, Come to Life, is rock and roll for sure, but what does that mean? You could say rock and roll to five people and they’d inevitably imagine five different things, all of which would actually fit the designation so where does StereoFeet exist in the spectrum?
The title track could easily be a tribute to U2. These days that band receives a lot of flak, primarily for Bono’s ever present and occasionally grating voice on the world political stage, so it’s easy to forget that they were one of the greatest bands of an era. Capturing that brilliance is no mean feat, but StereoFeet accomplishes it easily, flawlessly, and they deserve some respect for that alone. Does this make them a U2 clone? By no means, as every other track on the album confirms.
In fact, much of the rest of the album has a feel and flavor closer to Foo Fighters than anything, and that too is meant as high praise. The guitar tracks are dynamic, muted and subtle one moment, exploding in to pure high energy rock music the next. The vocals are clear, expressive and perfectly suited to the band’s overall sound. “Light Our Way” has radio hit written all over it, and it’s not the only track I can say that about.
“So We Will Run” is a highly melodic, almost ethereal track whose presence on the album illustrates yet again the band’s ability to shift gears, a point made even more powerfully by the following track, “Into the Flood” which, despite having clear, coherent vocals, plunges head first in to Metallica territory, a hard driving shredder of a tune.
The truth is that by the second or third pass of this album I find hints and suggestions of more and more bands, all of which fall in to a well-defined period of rock and roll history from the late eighties through the mid-nineties, a watershed era when glitz and glam (as well as soulless corporate rock) were eschewed for something more fundamental and powerful.
Queensryche, RHCP, even the Seattle sound are all recognizable in the songs of StereoFeet. Simply put, Graham and Walker seem to build their music with a toolbox full of the best and brightest elements of one of the best and brightest eras of modern rock music.
Facebook is a good jumping off point for learning more about the band, including links to YouTube, Soundcloud and Spotify. At a time when it seems like radio is…well…certainly not what it once was, the airwaves need a band like StereoFeet to shake off the dust and mediocrity with powerful tunes that work just as well through headphones in your apartment or blaring from the car stereo while cruising down the freeway.
Rock and roll can mean a lot of things, but however you slice it, StereoFeet is pure, hard edged rock and roll with just enough of the cerebral to separate them from the thrash monkeys of the world.
Come to Life is an excellent study of the genre and an exciting entry from a band that will swiftly make a name for themselves.