Monday, April 15, 2019

Cassette Review //
Half Stack
"Quitting Time / Half Stack"
(Under the Counter Tapes)

$9 //
Edition of 50 //

This might feel like an easy statement to conclude based on this cassette, but Side A is "Quitting Time" while Side B is "Half Stack" (self-titled) and as such it seems like there are two albums on this cassette instead of one.   Some would say that the name Half Stack is not fitting in this case because the cassette is more of a double stack.  Right?  Right?  No one?  Okay.  At least we can all agree I like pancakes.  

Right away this reminds me of twee, like something from HHBTM.   There is a sense of bedroom pop here as well, it is certainly upbeat.   The first song asks "Is it real at all" a lot while the second sounds a bit like Johnny Cash, but it can also go into that dreamy Buddy Holly type of sound as well.   Slight hints of country bring about great guitar work all around.   "Hangin' Out (and Hangin' On)" has That Thing You Do! qualities before just overall sounding like twee still.

"Balmorhea" has a more classic rock feeling to it, like that one prom song everyone knows about how you look wonderful tonight, and I feel like the guitars do the talking here as well.    There is some Dylan in this, some Tom Petty as well I'd say.    "Get Well Soon" does have country elements to it but it also just feels like that 1950's/1960's guitar driven rock n roll.    Isn't it odd how the two can feel so closely related though?

That guitar riff and drums pumping up take us right into the flip side.   Perhaps a little CCR, perhaps a little bit of surf here.     "Hot Stack #1" has a "Walk the Line" vibe to it, though it also gets that Chuck Berry type of guitar line going as well.   This can feel like John Denver's "Country Roads", but maybe closer to when Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies covered it.   Also, elements of "Don't Fear the Reaper" come out during "Friends".  

However you wish to define this sound- and there is a lot of it so you can choose what to call what and when- I think the biggest factor in these songs is the guitar.   They just seem guitar driven, you know, whether it's country or dreamy or rock n roll or all three, the guitar seems to decide that and as such if you're a fan of guitar based rock music this should be high in your rotation. 

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