Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Stops make an album!

Self-described as "5 girls playing punk", The Stops are quickly becoming one of my favorite new bands. Set for release on Dirt Cult Records (USA) and Sabotage Records (Germany) is the debut LP from this fab Portland outfit. Nameless Faces is the name of the album, and it definitely adds to Portland's reputation as an epicenter for dark melodic punk (see also: Observers, Red Dons). The Stops are talented individuals who've cultivated a unique sound - combining the seemingly disparate influences of The Wipers, Adolescents, and early Go-Go's. They kinda come off like an American counterpart to Terrible Feelings - except they're more straight-forward punk rock and not quite as bleak. Still, if you enjoy that blend of melodic hooks and darker lyrics, The Stops are a band you won't want to miss. Lead guitarist Ruby is an absolute force. Out of the many guitarists of the moment playing in that classic Rikk Agnew style, she's one of the best I've heard. This record is loaded with top-notch guitar hooks, and they fit in perfectly with the band's songwriting style.

Sometimes bands with "darker" musical visions come off a little cold, but The Stops are not that kind of band. They're at their best on emotionally charged tracks like "Strangers" and "Wasted Excuses". These gals really nail that hard-to-attain combination of all-out urgency and more subtle ominous touches. And with its mix of fiery, lashing punk ("Repulsive") and more refined dark pop ("Another Day"), this is not an album that's going to succumb to "every song sounds the same" syndrome.

Recorded with Adam Becker at Red Lantern Studios and mastered by Daniel Husayn at North London Bomb Factory, Nameless Faces is a huge leap forward for The Stops in terms of production. But even if you dug the home-recorded sensibility of the band's demo from last year, I think you'd have to admit that the cleaner, crisper fidelity only enhances the power of this band's music. Nameless Faces is an excellent first effort from a very promising up-and-coming band. It's available for download now, and vinyl releases in September!



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