Stoley PT- Winter-Summer-Winter-Summer

stoleyI’m not entirely sure what Stoley PT is. I’ve narrowed it down to two things: They are a punk band who don’t have that raw “it” factor, so they use pop to supplement their weaknesses (not a bad idea). Or, they are a pop band who decided they liked the Pixies so much, why not do what they did (bad idea)! Luckily, by the time I had started my review, I processed the album and knew how I was going to approach this band (negatively), but then Stoley PT really went over the edge. I didn’t get a promotional sheet on these guys, so I didn’t know anything about them. Being a blue collar music writer, I Google these guys, determined to do my own research. I see a link who’s content most certainly appears to be of the band’s. I click on this link and all hell breaks loose. My computer detects a threat, for the first time in 2 years of owning it. As if giving me sub-par music wasn’t enough for Stoley PT, they also tried to give me a virus. Thom Yorke never gave anyone a virus, and look how he turned out.

Here’s Stoley in a nutshell: They typically like to start off with an ordinary guitar-driven pop verse. The guitars hum along, and Stoley throws out a decently melodic line or two. Then, Stoley, channeling his inner Frank Black (the poor man’s version), violently erupts during the chorus, while the guitars blast off with him. It’s the oldest trick in the book, really. You go quiet on everybody for a minute, then just disintegrate ears without warning. It’s been used time and time again, but the Pixies still made it work, and after 20 years since they hit the scene, their music still holds up. First off, Frank Black’s melodies were incredible. He could make anything accessible and catchy. And when Black wanted to blast off, he didn’t hold back an ounce, he just went all the way. And even when Black was screaming with surreal horror, it was still catchy as hell. This is where Stoley PT just utterly whiffs on the genre (and I admit, the Pixies are very lofty standards, but there’s a better way of doing things then SPT). Stoley likes to get a little harsh in his voice when the chorus hits, but he doesn’t hit that extra gear that the songs need. If you really want to do quiet-to-loud, pop-to-punk, then you can’t just hit the ceiling when you unleash the song, you have to blow the roof off. Stoley leaves the roof perfectly in tact.

Stoley PT, like I said, have decent melodies during their verses. A couple of lines in a song dip or ascend nicely, but it doesn’t downright grab you. “Switchblade,” in fact, has a really nice melody, but the chorus misfires and sort of sours the song; “Learning Curve,” the same thing. “The Lion” is the best song on the album, featuring the best melody, and doesn’t do the punk chorus business that plagues the rest of the album. Basically, “The Lion” is a really nice pop song, and I wouldn’t mind listening to it again. The other 5 official songs (I’ll explain official in a minute), passively come and go. It seems as if Stoley PT wants to really grab your attention, but ironcially, most of their songs pass without so much as a flinch. The verse is poppy, the chorus is punk-y, and that’s just about it. Their repetitive tricks get a little bit old, resulting in 4 below average songs, 2 average songs, 1 good song, and 1 really bad song. “Broke” attempts to come out of the gate with a little more pep than usual, trying to sustain its punk energy for the full length of the song, instead of its chorus only. The result? A clusterfuck of bad guitar riffs and hopelessly bad singing with no melodies. I hate “Broke.” The album lists 8 tracks, but if you play the album in its entirety, there’s a hidden 9th track! Since W-S-W-S, has been all bad versions of music cliches, why not close with an acoustic hidden track? Totally independent from every song on the album, this hidden track ensues. Admittedly, it’s not bad, but it’s hard to really screw up an acoustic song. Stoley PT really drives home the notion that something really raw and powerful just happened on this album, so Stoley closes the hidden track with the classic move of playing out the tape while the hollow acoustic guitar is rested against a hard surface, and all you hear are the noises of departure. It’s cliche, yes, and it’s also sort of funny, because you haven’t cared one bit about what was going on in the album. Well played, Stoley.

Stoley PT’s Winter-Summer-WinterSummer is mostly full of pretty lame attempts of brash pop music, mixed in with one legitimate song, and one really awful song. And trying to give people’s computers viruses is also a pretty big negative. Overall, this is probably an album you just want to stay away from, even if you’re jonesin’ for some bombastic pop music. Just do yourself a favor and listen to the Pixies.