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Stereo | Rewind Record | review | alternative | punk | rock | Lollipop

The Stereo

Rewind+Record (Fueled By Ramen)
by Tim Den

Rewind+Record is filled to the brim with trademark Stereo hook-and-sinkers, except this time the humble, hardworking, progressive genius mastermind Jamie Woolford also threw in plenty of previously untouched "experimental elements." Whereas previous releases saw The Stereo plowing through every song with muscular anthems, Rewind+Record retains all the potency without always roaring past the listener. The result? A whole new spin on the possibilities of power popcraft. A triumph of musical alchemy as bombast sugar blasts mingle with drum loops, synth strings, somber keyboards, and ragged optimism. It's the sound of flawless songwriting that only a natural like Woolford can pull off, done with a new-found confidence in sound engineering.

Opener "Dear Fans of The Stereo" is a perfect example. I expected the familiar explosion of ROCK when I first put this record on, but surprise, surprise!, I got a whirlwind of vocal harmonies and Casio beats instead. And it's done with so much attention that you forget to complain. Just cuz it ain't the woosh of openers past don't mean that the song ain't good.

Standard Stereo fares "Pay No Attention," "You Better Believe It," and the absolutely sickening "Have I Paid My Debt to MPLS?" (best verse ever, not to mention the jaw-dropping "fuzz" bridge) are the band's best guitar tunes yet, but it's really the "pop" tracks that steal the show. "Turn Off Your T.V." is a piano waltz worthy of the last Ben Folds Five album. "Stop Breathing" is - I'm convinced - a miracle of God containing not one weak melody in it. And "Too Little, Too Late" - without a doubt the jewel in the crown that is this album - would make Jellyfish proud. Broken-hearted Rhodes wearing Woolford's angelic harmonies like a latex glove, "Too Little, Too Late" is the drunk romantic trying to find footing as he traces/clings to the dark hallway down toward the bathroom, his stomach and heart filled with something far worse than a night's worth of binging and self-destruction. The lingering, acidic aftertaste of regret in the repetition of "...too late..." Magical.
(PO Box 12563 Gainesville, FL 32604)

 


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