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The Stills

  • Logic Will Break Your Heart

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    The Stills

    Logic Will Break Your Heart( 2003 )
    Lola Stars And Stripes / Gender Bombs / Changes Are No Good / Love And Death / Of Montreal / Ready For It / Let's Roll / Allison Krausse / Animals And Insects / Still In Love Song / Fevered / Yesterday Never Tomorrow

    A few bands from across the seas have recently sought inspiration in early UK indie music. Bands like Joy Division, New Order. The Chameleons, most importantly - a band you may not be familiar with, but trust me, they were mighty. Dour Manchester bands, all of these. Ah, well. Suits my soul. Which is one peculiar thing about this particular album. They capture that feel so well. Unlike say, New York City's 'Interpol', Canadian band 'The Stills' understand that surrounding lyrics full of love, death and heartbreak, best requires happier, uplifting music. The guitars and overall sound here is full of texture and depth, the vocals are semi-crooning and clear, mixed just right. They are audible, you can make out most of the words. There is no mumbling incoherently for miserable effect. I'm personally happy because the bass lines are melodic, they serve a purpose. If you're going to take Joy Division or early New Order as just one of your many bands to be influenced by, please do realise the importance of the bass melodies. Happily so, The Stills do seem to have realised this. One slight gripe about this excellent album full of melodic songs with depth and great guitar textures, though. It flags in places, it's not quite a consistent set of songs. Having said this, the first four songs in particular steal the show. These songs are good enough to raise the spirits in anybody who has been despairing of the quality of music and songs the glut of new bands recently has been producing.

    So, we open. 'Lola Stars And Stripes' just sends shivers all through me. The guitars are semi shoegazing, another influence. They never lose themselves, though. Never lose track of the main melodic thread of the song. The chorus is gorgeous, it sticks in your brain so your singing "lola, lola..." over and over again in your mind. 'Gender Bombs' is the perfect song to follow. A song that adds to the melodic content of the opening song and changes slightly the vocal feel. The first song may bring to mind Radiohead type vocals, 'Gender Bombs' has a slightly darker feel. To complete a trio of fantastic songs is 'Changes Are No Good'. Crooning vocals, those textured, uplifting guitars. The vocals and lyrics are sad - but the key to truly great music is mixing light and dark. The Stills seem to able to do this mixing of light and dark. It's key in creating truly great music that lasts. 'Changes Are No Good' is gorgeous. I'm trying to think of the last band that produced the emotions in me that The Stills manage to produce. I'm thinking of lots of bands... ones I mentioned right at the top of this review. Bands like The Smiths, even. There's no obvious music or vocal similarites, but the feel The Stills evoke will surely appeal to Smiths fans. It will also appeal to fans of 'happier' sounding music. The Stills match the two sides brilliantly.

    For all the talk that Interpol attracted about Joy Division, etc. 'Love And Death' by The Stills beats anything Interpol managed to acheive, and their album was pretty good! 'Love And Death' has those New Order keyboards and bass lines. But, the singer in The Stills now we've got this far into the album is carrying the show. The guitar sounds, reminding of bands such as The Chameleons, as they do - are surrounded by richly arranged and perfectly executed bass and vocal melodies. The Stills, without inventing a thing, manage to sound like The Stills. I hope that makes sense. That they've managed to do this half way through their debut album is quite something. It usually takes new bands two or three albums to find their own true character, that's if they ever do. As for the second half of the album, we've more or less more of the same. They don't quite manage to carry across the sheer glory of the first four songs through the remainder of the album. Having said this, songs such as 'Allison Krausse' have the sound, 'Animals And Insects' varies things, a softer song with a heart-beat. The closing 'Yesterday Never Tomorrow' stretches out over five minutes, builds up very atmospherically. Just as you're thinking it's going to turn into Joy Division, a very happy melody comes floating through, a silly melody. Silly, in a good way. Later during the song, the guitar textures appear, hand-claps even. All without sounding either light or dark. The Stills are on their way. Seriously, happily. A new word that describes both.

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    Readers Comments

    Mike Bryant amishrevolt97@sbcglobal.net
    I heard "Lola Stars and Stripes" at Barnes and Noble and loved it. I bought the album around Christmas, but haven't got around to listening to it. Now that I have, they are pretty good. I don't know if they are better than Interpol, yet Interpol is kind of different (the voices are different and Interpol's more downbeat). The first four songs are good, and I like "Fevered" and "Ready For It" "Yesterday Never Tomorrow" is really funny with that atmospheric Joy Division buildup and then a poppy little keyboard bit. For a minute there I thought the singer was going to come in with "Where will it end? where will it end?." A good album. An 8, or maybe an 8.5. You should check out Longwave. They're from New York, but they are more shoegazer Ride type than Television.

    alexa tears_of_blood8@hotmail.com
    I accidently discovered the stills and am proud to say that they are from montreal same as me. I was going through a lot of hard times and there music was very therepeutic im excited for the show this summer!

    top of page this page last updated 17/05/07

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