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Oh No Not Stereo

003
Takeover Records
www.ohnonotstereo.net


Thank you! Finally someone realized that there was a void in the music scene; one left by bands like Good Charlotte, New Found Glory and first album version of Simple Plan. Yes, I realize that two of the three afore mentioned bands are actually still intact and probably still touring. However for fans of these bands, their original sound (and for me the bands themselves) has been missing for at least a couple of years, thus leaving a void... As well as a need for a style of music that requires no emotion, no professional grade ear plugs or knowledge of any instrument besides the core four (guitar, bass, microphone and drum kit). The SoCal based band Oh No Not Stereo is just the band for the job.

You want a feel good song that makes you appreciate rock guitars? Well then the opening track for 003 called "Lets Get It Started" will fully satisfy you. Complete with synchronized chants and a pepped up tempo, it's literally a great way to get it started. "Hurricanes" slows it down just a tad, but really only for the first 20 seconds or so. Because after that the guitar really bursts out of its shell, cloning itself into an alarm sound. And if you really listen to the lyrics, you'll see why an alarm is appropriate "right behind you, come the hurricanes!" My favorite part of the song comes in about 2:42, when the electronic guitars drift away and all you're left with is some gentle vocals, an acoustic addition and a touch of percussion, all set to emphasis the whisper of "its right behind you." Skipping down to "Shot Down By The Man" because to me this is the token Good Charlotte replacement. It's angry, amazingly powerful and inexplicably catchy. Protest song? Could be, especially with that title. What I do know is the guitar solo that claws its way out near the end is truly wicked. One song that gives Oh No an up on its predecessors is "12 Years Later." Instead of putting in a classic love ballad, they decided to put in an emotional rollercoaster of life and death. A bold move, made even bolder with the addition of a few string instruments. Yet another song that has an amazing part is this one; about 2:25 the vocals subside and a piano takes lead. Wait a moment and that string instrument comes around again, yet gets plucked this time. Just another moment more and there's a powerful lead in with those electronic guitars back again and some harmonized lyrics "you saved my life, you saved me."

As if the versatility of this band wasn't apparent enough, they go all Ben Folds on us. "I Can't Say" is a song that spends about half it's time in the presence of an acoustic guitar and piano. Skyler's voice is set in a pop-octave, coupled with the pleasant lyrics just make you feel a little happy-go-lucky. However, just when you get comfortable they remind you why the core of a band contains guitars and a couple of them come a-trashing out. Right in line with the Ben Folds feel is "A World Of Our Own" now there's no doubt, this is their ballad. And as ballads go, it's not bad. Piano, cello and harmonies make for a pretty song.

Ending the album with "Can't Trust Anyone" was an excellent decision. It's like punk meets hardcore rock and it is perfection. The punk is the insanely fast tempo and "yeah yeah"'s yelled throughout and the hardcore comes in the stiff bass and lyrics that make you hate the world. At about the 2 minute mark it seems as though the song and the album are over. But wait for about a minute and you'll realize you've got just a bit more to enjoy. That infamous piano makes one last appearance with what I can only assume are the original members of the band: Skyler and Mykul. A guitar does eventually add a little bit of flavor, it's not really needed though, as the piano carries the song all on its own. You're left with lyrics "give it up, give it up for the big man" and a question: who is this 'Man'?

The album is called 003 and they're next adventure 004 is currently in the works. Perhaps they saved the creativity from album titles for the music itself. Thank God they did. This is an excellent album and I'd consider the void filled.

-Rachel Fredrickson

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