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One of my favorite things in the world is to come home to a package in the shape of square sitting there waiting for me to open it. It’s something about vinyl that still does it for me. When I was sent the newest offering by The Stereo State from the awesome dudes over at Neutral Territory Records, I had a feeling this could be worth my time. Decent expectations, not sub-par but just a good record. What I did not expect was to be hearing was what I truly think to be the best 7″ of 2010. Yes, it’s that good.
First off, just from opening the packaging you receive a note from Neutral Territory Records (sweet Lifetime nod) saying what’s up with the label, a little about The Stereo State and a thank you which I totally dug. It’s cool to see a label giving a fuck about who buys their record. Sometimes, the small things like that matter. I also have to give it up to the cover art which fits well with themes being portrayed on this slab on vinyl. As you open it up, there’s the lyrics clearly printed which I think is always crucial to this genre if you ask me. You can say the most prominent statements with your lyrics but no one is going to give a fuck if you don’t put them out there for people to read. As for the actual vinyl, I’m not sure what the pressing numbers are but I received a cool splatter grey which looks great. Now onto that actual music…
The record starts off with the song “Spit Hot Fire” which is shorter song that has a chorus that will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. I think it was a great choice to come out swinging on the record. The next song is most definitely a personal favorite entitled “Whalesounds”. I can not go on enough about how crucial I think this song is to the genre and would go as far to say this is my favorite song I’ve heard all year. Everything from the music to the lyrics really hit home. With my musical background, it’s great to see that bands can still do this right. The next track, “There’s No U in Team” is another catchy tune that plays the 90’s card well. This band can write a chorus and tracks like this prove it. The record is topped off by another two tracks in the similar vein that will keep your head bobbing. Also, they include a “joke” song entitled “Fart Wars” which I still don’t get but had me laughing to myself. I think it’s great to see a band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously and c’mon, when’s the last time you heard a joke song?
Some of the high points of this band are their throwback style to the mid-90’s when punk was fun and lyrics had some substance. One thing that I’m really into about this band is the way their singer Andy delivers. This is not your average pop-punk singer who is forcing out high squeals but rather belts out and can hold a note. If I had to compare it to someone, it would be Farside in the sense that it’s singing rather than whining. I could be bias and it actually might not be for everyone but fuck, it’s an amazing change of pace. Also, the recording is really clean and makes for an enjoyable listen with the drums sounds crisp and where all guitars (including bass) aren’t lost in the mix.
Overall, I got a chance to review a great piece of vinyl that will truly please anyone into melodic hardcore/punk. I’m really high on this mostly because these guys are doing my favorite genre justice. I’d really have to suggest the track “Whalesounds” as a great representation of this band so be sure to scoop this one up. You will not be disappointed.