Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sticky Digit - ST (album review)

Sticky Digit is a hard rock / stoner band from Ireland.  The guitar sound they go for is really grind-y and scratchy reminiscent of the heyday of grunge, but this is no 90s revival band.  They sing stoner melodies with the occasional harmony and play in jumpy, paranoid rhythms.  They are the lovechild of Alice in Chains and Queens of the Stone Age.

"One 2 Three 4" is a strong introduction to the band, a very good song that lets the listener know right off the bat what this band is all about: stoner grooves, big hooks, the occasional harmony, melodic and heavy rock and roll.  Handclaps count in the next track "Bothers Me" which, along with the follow up "The Day The Cow Went Woof", re-enforce what was established right off the bat in the opener.  "Bad Things" and "Oxtgenoestrogen" are also two no-nonsense stone and roll shit-kickers that showcase the band in their purest light.

"Crazy" ups the ante on the stoner grooves and introduces some Alice in Chains-like minor chord harmony to terrific effect.  It's a perfect statement of the marriage between the grunge and stoner styles this band imbibes and is a true standout track.  "The Day the Cow Went Woof" is like a tour of the best grunge bands of the 90s and almost creates a model of the kind of genetic recombination that goes into the influencing of a band.  "Don't Wanna Know" proves that the band is more than capable of handling the lengthier material, a 7 minute song that feels like a regular 4 minute one, a nice middle eastern freak out in the middle section splits this stoner rock and roller into two enjoyable halves.

The choruses of "Crazy" and album closer "Seep Out" really stand out by the terrifically mournful harmonies adding some minor chord counterpoint to a pair of otherwise jumpy songs.  It's a simple technique really, but it works so damn well.  "Seep Out" is the final track and ends the album on a tribal and highly resonant drum solo leading back to a brief restatement of the bridge, then stutters out.

Sticky Digit like to let the heavy out, especially during the hooks to wash their big melodic choruses in a wave of stoner groove, but it may just be the quieter, moodier moments that define the album.  Atmospheric lamentations serve as counterpoint to those big melodic choruses.  It's in these more contemplative moments that the songs are free to breathe and a lot of the creativity of this band comes to the fore.  'Sticky Digit' creates the impression that the band is brimming with ideas.  It's the little touches that provide a lot of extra charm on this album.  Handclaps and gongs, contemplative tribal drumming, some middle eastern flutes, double kick, the odd harmony here or there and of course, cowbell.  They don't overdo anything.

It's hard to find fault with any whole song, even if one may not like certain parts, each song will find a way to charm the listener.  There's plenty to chew on here.  Every song is potentially someone's standout track.

Highlights include: "Crazy" and "Bad Things"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 48:17

From: Wexford, Ireland

Genre: Stoner, Grunge, Hard Rock

Reminds me of: Alice in Chains, Nirvana, QOTSA, Satellite Beaver, Snail, Truckfighters

Release Date: November 14, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Walking into a carnival fortune teller's tent and receive good tidings only to come out the other side in a freak show cage.

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