Monday, March 10, 2008

Still in love with the Stills?

If you’ve heard “Shadow of the Day” on rock radio, you may have gotten a touch excited about the return of the Stills. And while its dramatic build and soaring vocals do sound like a commercialized version of something off the Montreal band’s first album, “Shadow” is actually a single by Linkin Park.

But fear not, gentle reader, because the Stills are indeed finishing a new album.

I write this with some apprehension. Following their fantastic 2003 debut, Logic Will Break Your Heart, 2006’s Without Feathers was a disappointment. The opening track, “In The Beginning,” featured a weak-wristed version of the riff from Heart’s “Barracuda” over which they layered a melody reminiscent of Slade’s silly ‘80s romp “Run Run Away.” And in a shocking about-face following their guitar-dominant debut, the band eschewed guitars in favor of piano for most of the record. Save a few brief moments like “It Takes Time” and “Destroyer,” the album never seemed to get going.

But over the weekend I stumbled upon a video, posted just last week, for the Stills’ new song “Snake-Charming The Masses.” The song is more intense and dramatic than anything from Without Feathers, and to my delight there’s not a piano to be heard. In fact, musically, the song sounds a lot (too much?) like Elbow’s “Forget Myself,” and “Snooks.”

Hey look, I’ve embedded it right here!

Pretty cool juxtaposition between the song and visual. The 4-and-a-half intense minutes of footage of a house engulfed in flames reminds me of Health’s “Heaven” video Ben posted back in November (which I liked so much I’m posting it again here).

If you go to the Stills’ website you can check out some accompanying poetry that might make you wonder if this new record is a concept album. Like an apocalyptic sonic novel of sorts. "Snake-Charming The Masses" certainly is a socio-political-commentary-sounding title.

No word yet on a release date, but I’d guess within a couple months or so.

Carr, they've got four shows in Austin this week. Check one out and give me a report.


Anonymous said...

I'm thrilled to say, I thought this post would be so much less! - DY

Shannon said...

but I was going to try and see Vampire Weekend instead. Just for bragging rights. Of course, bragging rights will do me no good, when in 2 years, nobody cares anymore. (think Killers...)

I will send a full sxsw report - which will hopefully include The Stills...

Anonymous said...

what are you talking about? there's piano all the way from the middle verse onwards! can't you hear it? wow. though I agree about without feathers.

Mark Hall said...

That low, rumbly bass-end sound? You may be right, Anonymous. Thanks for the correction.