Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stay Sharp - Four Songs

Stay Sharp - Four Songs

I've talked a little bit about Stay Sharp and had nothing but good things to say about their live show. They were energetic and sound great live. The songs are engaging enough to keep a live set interesting, and they're short and to the point. So, how do these songs translate to a recording? Pretty damn well.

The first song on the EP is arguably the weakest. It's not that it's bad, but it's a very straight ahead punk/hardcore song, with little setting it apart from a lot of other bands doing this genre. But at a minute long, it serves as competent intro to the EP, and to the band for many. It's not a bad song, but from there on in the EP, they step it up.

The second song, "Hatfield of Dreams" has a bit of a poppier feel, which I guess a lot of people will say is the Kid Dynamite sound, although I think they do enough through heavier vocals and variation in parts to keep it from falling into a stale rut. The singer's voice is good, and he hits the melodic parts as well as the faster/heavier parts. The gang vocals are a nice touch when used sparingly, as they are in the second song. Flowing nicely along is "Sign It", which has my favorite part of the record. The sparse drum and bass first verse shows that they can switch it up a bit more. This is the longest song at just over two minutes, and it ends with another cool gang vocal part. The final song, "Charge the Mound," seems to be the "anthem" type song with a big sing along ending, and I've seen them close a set or two with it. It's definitely got the catchiest chorus of the bunch, with a nice little guitar break. Good stuff.

My only complaint with this debut EP is the singer has a tendency to rely on vocal patterns closely following the guitar lines. This is unfortunate because he has a good voice that he could do a lot more with. It seems like he struggles to come up with vocal hooks that stand on their own. That said, this is still a really impressive EP and this band has been on point every time I've seen them live. I know they're already planning their next release and playing some killer shows, so I expect big things out of them in the second half of 08.

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