The Stratford 4
Naming your debut album The Revolt Against Tired Noises is quite an audacious way to start a career. Snide journalists have easy pickings if you fail to live up to your own title standards and if it isn't obviously tongue-in-cheek it will have a fair share of detractors simply because of the name alone. With "tired noises" littering the highway known as modern radio, it surely makes for easy potshots, but when you belong to more of an independent label you're going to have to create something more than the standard fare.
Truth be told, I still can't figure out if this quartet is joking or not with the title of the release. After listening to The Revolt Against Tired Noises many times, it's easy to hear a score of different influences, but I'd be hard pressed to say that the group is actually doing anything new and exciting (which is admittingly pretty hard to do these days). Over the course of 8 tracks and nearly 50 minutes, the group wear a lot of different sounds on their sleeves, pulling different parts of groups like My Bloody Valentine and even the Velvet Underground together for an album that jumps about slightly, but still manages to keep a fairly cohesive feel throughout.
The album opens with dreamy, layered guitars on "Rebecca," and the light male vocals over the top of swirling guitars drop you down into a mild shoegazer storm. From there, they launch into two tracks that fall much more on the dirty pop end of things. "All Mistakes Are Mine" is a short track that fans of the Strokes would probably gobble up while "Hydroplane" takes some of the same elements and rocks out again before the hazy pop of "All The Fading Stars."
Starting out slow again, "Window Open" lulls you off to sleep before the closing maelstrom in the closing minutes. Even though the group hails from the West Coast, the track feels like it could have come from a drugged-out, noisy older album from across the pond (early Verve, anyone?). Before the epic album closer of "All That Damage" (which works the quiet-loud dynamic for almost 15 minutes), The Stratford 4 even turn in a lovely pop song with girl/boy vocals in "Autopilot." As mentioned above, the group really isn't doing anything that sounds like a revolt, yet the young group has put together a very agreeable album that will probably appeal to fans of several different genres. A promising debut, and it will be interesting to see what they do in the future.