Something about Stroke 9 is just so addicting and original even though, at the heart of it all, their music is simply just pop rock. The great thing about their musical creations is that it goes far beyond the norm in song structure, subject matter, instrumentation, and effects where the songs become something that is fresh and original. They take pop rock to the next level. Stroke 9 is the kind of music that you can cruise to with the windows down or just dim the lights and chill. Brainless, yet witty. Their new album “All In” has it all.
Modern scratches and classical violin combine to create a modern tapestry of sound that rocks and soothes from start to finish. The first track “How’m I gonna know” is a perfect into to the vibe of the album. The boys cruise in with subject matter that is familiar but the approach is fresh, the structure leaves you guessing and the chorus simply begs you to sing along.
You see I am a little biased because I have been a Stroke 9 fan since their first major label disc hit the scene. They are one of the rare bands that know how to write songs that park themselves in your head for days. Simple yet complex, layered or stripped down, they are always pushing the pop rock limits. The great thing is that they know where to stop when sowing their wild oats. When bands experiment and try to “mature” they end up sounding far beyond their original promise to their core fans. It’s a rare band that can try something new and still retain their original vibe and Stroke 9 does this perfectly and consistently.
The classical violin intro on “Set you free” that quickly builds into a rockin’ anthem, the talking verses on “Rod Beck” are an interesting twist and the chorus is simple yet you always find your head bobbin’ to the beat. The synthesized chorus on “Words to live by” was a fresh surprise and the mood on “Abandon Confusion” just begs for me to turn down the lights with a nice bottle of red wine and chill. This tune flows nicely into the down tempo “My advice” which isn’t their best mellow tune but it still fits nicely in the mix until the closing creation “Part’e”. The scratches, the strange organ melodies and the chorus all mix to create a radio ready party jam that hits all the right spots.
As Luke Esterkyn says on “Words to live by” –
“Sing me songs that’ll make me laugh and cry, Tell me words that I can live by.”
Well, this album is exactly that. Catchy, funny, sad, entertaining and above all, songs that you can enjoy — that is if you don’t mind them hanging around inside your head for a few days.
If you are new to Stroke 9 grab their first album “Nasty Little Thoughts” for starters and work your way to “Rip it off” and then to their latest release. If you like catchy, melodic, hook filled pop rock with attitude then this band is worth your dough. Stoke 9 is definitely a band to live by.