By The Stills
Titled for despair at the impossibility of rewriting pop's best ever song, the Stills' CD falls like a shiny stone into a lake of clear cold water to join the decorative thousands of similarly beautiful items.
Young Canadians in New York, and trying to sound English, The Stills have every hope of being the Next Big Thing. They write pretty, simple, songs that are nearly infectious and seem to be important. They do sculpturally deliberate basslines and chimy sub-Edge guitar breaks that almost break your heart in a very four-square chunka chunka tempo. Nice.
I don't know why I can't be bothered with this band. I think it's something to do with boredom and the thought that I wasn't so keen on Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order and Teardrop Explodes that I wanted their albums as well as their singles. Just listen to the horribly crude introduction to "On Montreal", like some demented sound check with an imperfectly tuned drum kit. Followed by that clanga clanga clanga guitar part that we might just have heard before. Tim Fletcher has a good strong voice and the melodic drift and lyrical content are pretty sweet. But here we are two minutes in and the soundcheck drum sound hasn't shifted.
I do know why I can't be bothered with this band. I think it's something to do with boredom and the thought that it might be driven by a desperate desire to be noticed and makes lots of money, like all those great people who made better versions of this angsty, melodramatic, sort of sincere poppy heartstretched music.
I'm also put off by the publicist's account of the band buying a drug-addicted friend's 4-track at a rip off price because he was desperate. This is supposed to make the band sound linked with drug addiction (obviously cool) and demonstrate their fierce commitment to the music (obviously praiseworthy). Some friendship, eh? Have they paid him the full rate yet? Bastards.
The more I listen the more I don't like it all. The poundy, slack drum, the producer-added keyboards that don't fit, the soaring emotional excess of Fletcher's voice, the route-one hyper-obvious bass. The plangent two-note chords that go "nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah" eight to the bar on the twelfth fret. Oh, I'm fed up after four listens. It will sell a million and the Leeds gig will be packed out.
Enjoy. But be warned: there are some poetic/ironic/heartfelt/ambiguous/sarcastic references to the notorious aircraft attacks on American buildings and people. I didn't understand them, but you might. "We all need to feel secure" ... "I'm still waiting for next week's chemical blast" ... "with an F16 you'll feel the surge of your American breast" ... and so on. Take it however your politics fall out: it's on your side. In big cheese rock format so it feels "deep".