Stag and Colour Me Red

Stag “Stag”
After an impressive EP last year, Seattle’s Stag presents its new self-titled LP chock full of pretty pop melodies and big hook filled guitar riffs. Similar to Cheap Trick, Big Star, Redd Kross and Guided By Voices it blasts off with “These Times,” a strong anthem for you to get up and take action.

For those who worked in record stores “Love Her Records” is a great tribute with its Big Star riff. “Don’t Lead With Your Heart” is another melodic gem about another heartbreak, and overall there are no real duds here, although the slower tunes don’t resonate as much. Other standouts include: “Tiffany Rose,” Ides of March” with a cool horn flourish, and my favorite here -“Don’t Call Me” with its classic power pop rhythm.

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Stars and Sons “Colour Me Red”
The fantastic opener “Chance Or Such” shows this Brighton UK band moving forward from its last album and flirts with greatness here. A bit like The Eels or Supergrass mixed with Travis, the chords and harmonies are infectious with just a hint of anxiety. Its rocking that cow bell on “Effectively Dead” and then “Family Tree” has a willowy harmony in the chorus.The acoustic ballad “Brewer Street” is a brilliant tribute to a childhood memory filled with creeping menace. In fact most of the album is themed around leaving childhood behind – sometimes over the top (“Urge Yourself”) but mostly beautifully poignant. And the price is right — so pick it up!

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