Monday, December 26, 2022

Stay Put/Fresh Specimen split tape

I've always had mixed feelings about split releases. On one hand, splits give you two bands for the price of one. But what if you only like one of the two bands? Then it's like you're getting only half a record for the price of one. And what if both bands are good, but they don't logically flow together on the same record? No such problems exist with a new split tape from Stay Put and Fresh Specimen — a couple of very cool bands from the southwest of England. This, to me, is everything a split ought to be. If you like one of these bands, you're almost certain to like the other. Stay Put from Plymouth features Sam Ratcliffe and Joe Prudames (As We Sink, Boxkite, etc.) veering away from hardcore punk and playing '90s-style college rock. The press release compares the band to a more pop Dinosaur Jr., and I totally hear that. I'm also hearing a Teenage Fanclub influence, and I've got no complaints about that. Stay Put's half of this six-song release delivers three tracks of highly melodious pop with just enough of a noisy edge. If you enjoy these songs as I do, you can check out two full EPs from Stay Put on the UK label Crew Cuts. Fresh Specimen from Falmouth features Roo Pescod (Bangers) and Charlie Murphy (a perennial favorite of this blog) splitting singing and songwriting duties. Rounding out the lineup are Cora Stocker, Ed Koral, and Hannah Gledhill. On its half of this split, this band stirs up my '90s nostalgia with a brand of melodic punk that's tuneful and guitar-heavy. I dig the sound, and I dig the songs. This is the band's debut release ahead of a full album coming in 2023, and I am super-stoked to hear more! 

Coming back to my original premise of this review, Stay Put and Fresh Specimen have collaborated on a split cassette which Roo Pescod accurately describes as "six songs of pretty glorious pop." Stay Put reminds me of bands that were my gateway to punk rock, and Fresh Specimen reminds me of bands that got me deeper into punk. I'm looking forward to hearing much more from both of these bands!

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