So, first off, the title of the last album by Stereotyperider Songs in the Keys of F and U is awesome. Second, the album reminds me a lot of No Knife’s Riot For Romance record. It has chrunchy punky guitars, some screaming, some delicious pop hooks and is overall solid but not outstanding, and a bit long with a few tracks not even worth paying attention to.
Sometimes I wish bands would just release EPs – three or four of their best songs – and not try to put together a whole album. It was an EP from Stereotyperider that first caught my attention a few years ago. It was the first of the “Under The Influence” series on Suburban Home Records. The series had artists release EPs of songs by bands that influenced them – Sterotyperider did an awesome 7-song collection of Fugazi, Pixies, Seaweed, Descendents, Quicksand and Cure covers. Having less songs makes a band put only their greatest ones forth, not fillers and unpolished studio songs. Bands sometimes need editors, like a newspaper reporter does, to cut out their excess bullshit that misses the point and doesn’t help the story.
If Stereotyperider had an editor on Songs in the Keys… it probably would have been another 7-song effort, instead of 14 tracks. All 14 tracks are pleasant enough but only a few are stellar. The band throws in a few instrumental tracks – something Fugazi always did (I think just to prove they are awesome musicians and don’t need to bark intelligent lyrics and ooze an ethos) – and mixes in a few tracks that don’t seem to have had time to percolate completely.
“Did You Hear What I Meant” is a feisty rocker with tough breakdowns and a Hot Water Music in-and-out flow. “Twon Song” is an intense tight indie rock fury that pumps, grabs you, releases its hold so you can smell the sweet air and then chokes you out. “Luck” and “Useless Point” are pop-punky anthems, with a bit of Screeching Weasel and Face to Face to them. The album ends with a track – “Longer Than A 72” – that explores a bit with various times and chunked up fuzzy refrains but is grounded in a nice melody, and it works for the most part.
Songs like “Not Sayin’ It,” “Dave’s Fault,” “Annoy Me,” and “Problem Solved” seem unfocused or loose retreads. The editor needed to step in and realize that giving a band room to expand doesn’t always work and leads to repetition and recreation, but not really worthwhile innovation that stands up to the original content and demands to be with it.
This was the last album the Phoenix, Arizona foursome ever put out, and it’s not the best thing since sliced bread but it’s decent and if your CD collection needs more Dischord post-hardcore-sounding bands and Southern math rockers, then you can slip this one near there. And while I doubt you’ll pull it out a lot when you do, it’ll be just fine. Hell, who gets CDs anymore anyway, I guess. Get the tracks as mp3s and put it on a shuffle in your digital music player and it’ll be cool.