Staff Rating

4.95/5

User Rating

5/5

The Stereo State - Have All My Friends Gone Deaf?

Maryland Matt   (180 reviews)

Posted: 09/07/2011 | Comments: 8 | Rate:

...and the award for indie rock/pop punk record of the year goes to...

...okay, okay... maybe I'm jumping the gun... but let me plead my case.

Holyoke, MA's The Stereo State have done what I thought would be the unthinkable in this day and age. They have absolutely floored me with a level of passion, musicianship and stellar songwriting that I haven't heard from this genre in a number of years. Until recently, I thought that this particular scene was nearly devoid of ingenuity. This band has proven me wrong by completely catching me off guard with a record that is not only one of the best of this ilk to come out this year... but quite possibly the best to come out in a long, long time. Don't get me wrong, their previous release (2010's 'Caffeine, Beer and Quoting Movies') was a phenomenal display of pop-punk prowess, but this record is on the next level. It smashes through the plane that exists between punk and indie rock and so few bands seem able to survive that sonic shift with their cohesiveness intact. Not the Stereo State.

'Have My Friends Gone Deaf?' is infectiously catchy top to bottom. Not only is every song full of heavily melodic vocal patterns, but vocalist Andy Frongillo ensures them to be incredibly inventive all while maintaining a very classic feel with a good deal of range and drive. Offering up his voice for the sake of harmony (and even taking the lead at points) is guitarist/vocalist Gabe Griffin. These two have voices that pair together flawlessly and they take full advantage of that fact every chance they can. Very evident is the fact that a lot of time was dedicated to perfecting this aspect of their sound and I honestly can't name a current band doing it better than the Stereo State is. I would be remiss as to not also mention the fantastic lyrics on this record. Every song paints a picture with its words and the fact that each member of this band has a hand in the writing makes it all the more impressive.

Also being performed at a soaring level is the music itself. You can actually feel the love for their craft coming through in every note, beat and rhythm. The guitar playing has a definite unique character coupled with a very classic tone. When we all live in a "cookie cutter" world of guitarists, it is a sorely needed breath of fresh air to hear someone take such a classic sound and make it this fresh. Holding down the rhythm section are brothers Matt and Brandon Spence. I am a firm believer in a strong rhythm section being the heart and soul of a band and I would have to think that this band feels the same way just by listening to their playing. The Brothers Spence are without a doubt the backbone and anchor of this band. Without them, these songs wouldn't have half of the weight in both sound and soul that they do.

Manning the production duties on this release is Trevor Reilly of A Wilhelm Scream fame. He has done a positively wonderful job bringing this album to life without over-polishing it. Every note is crystal clear all while maintaining a certain degree of rawness on the edges that I feel is necessary to keep a band like this anchored in reality. It seems that all too often pop-punk bands of this current generation are eager to slap a high-gloss finish on their product, wrap it cellophane and sell their souls to the devil to hop on the Warped Tour. I honestly find it very refreshing to hear a record with top-notch production quality that still feels so very real. The drums are huge and warm, the guitars ring through the mix just right, the bass provides the driving rhythm along the foundation and the vocals lay on top of all of it with incredible melody and soul. I really believe that this records mix is equally responsible for its successes as any instrument or vocal performance.

This is without a doubt one of the best records I've had the pleasure of listening to this year. It is nearly flawless in every possible facet and the only reason th

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Comments
i dont care
406 Posts
32/M/PA
i can't stop listening to the single they have up from this cd. can't wait to hear the whole thing. reminds me of shades apart meets face to face.
still oh so ill
8,438 Posts
37/M/MD
I totally agree. There is a ton of 90's pop punk influence all over this band. The great thing though is that there is so much more than that on here as well. They take that pop punk foundation and add in elements of post-hardcore and 90's indie/alt rock (a la one of my favorite bands, Farside).

This band is the entire package, no doubt. I was blown away.



Speaking of which, I'm way stoked to check out your guys record. I know its streaming, but I just haven't had a chance to listen to it. I will tonight for sure.
WastedPotential
6,659 Posts
37/M/VA
Will check out.
I have no legs!
11 Posts
36/M/MA
...humbled by this review, seriously.



www.facebook.com/thestereostate
do svidaniya
6,566 Posts
35/M/MD
Originally posted by: Matthew Spence

...humbled by this review, seriously.



www.facebook.com/thestereostate



now HERE's a good dude
i dont care
406 Posts
32/M/PA
this review matches how good this album is. wowzers. stoked to play with these guys next week.
still oh so ill
8,438 Posts
37/M/MD
I'm so excited for people to finally start hearing this record.

If you don't go see them atthe polish club next week... you are really messing up.
still oh so ill
8,438 Posts
37/M/MD

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