Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Album Review – Stages & Stereos “Small Town Favorites”

Last week the day I’ve been waiting for finally arrived. Stages & Stereos released their new album, Small Town Favorites. We’ve already heard the title track single, which was fantastic, but barely skimmed the surface of what the EP had to offer.

It’s five tracks of excellence all reminding me, not of Mayday Parade (as Stages has in the past) but of the elite alternative rockers of radio fame. I could hear these songs being played alongside groups like Phoenix or The Naked and Famous.

“Cool to be Vain” has a groovy dance feel to it, and while I tend to rebel against a produced synth backing, it gives this song depth like it should. It’s more than just a dance song, not with the first line of the chorus being “I want to smile like I used to”. But all it does is add to the feel, the song that drags you in like a perfect first track should.

“Coup de Grace” is exactly what it says it is. It’s a gorgeous takeover of your senses that completely envelops you. And that takeover? You’ll be fine with it. Let it take you away.

My two favorite tracks on the EP are fighting for first, every time I listen to them the experience is different. How do you pick between two wonderful songs that are beautifully written for every strength of the band? “Even Tides” in addition to be crisply and impressively sung, is nostalgic, reminding you of the nights you stayed up too late because you could and because the reasons you had to stay up were worth it, where you finally yourself, even if only for a few moments. You know that feeling, when you’re finally home after one of the better nights of your life and you know it’s going to be one of those nights you remember for forever and you feel completely comfortable in your skin? “Even Tides” brings you back to those moments, to that feeling, again and again.

I’d heard “1990” before at the acoustic show a few weeks ago, but the album version is something close to perfection. It’s proof positive (as if the rest of the EP isn’t enough) that Stages & Stereos is better than almost everyone else in the business, both those groups huge on the circuit they’re in or those groups gracing the radio waves. Daniel’s unique sound as lead vocalist is used in ways that it hasn’t been yet and it’s the perfect combination. The whole song gives that sense of spinning, being lost in a feeling, in a moment, that spins around like a carousel.

It’s the kind of music that doesn’t just get blasted out of car stereos, it’s the kind of music that becomes the soundtrack to your life and all your favorite moments.

Small Town Favorites is an indicator that one of my favorite small bands won’t be small anymore. Really debuting this music on the Glamour Kills tour (which starts soon!) will rope in fans left and right. It’s only going to get bigger and better from here.

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