By Mike O’Cull www.mikeocull.com
Lo-fi garage rock power trio ST.J comes straight at you on the band’s new EP Mutability. The tracks are packed with hooks, gritty performances, and meaningful lyrics that will appeal to anyone who likes their rock and roll fresh, real, and free of pretense. Band members Jake Olson (Bass and Vocals), Brett Davis (Drums and Vocals), and Dave Stump (Guitar and Vocal) vibe like a neighborhood outfit that plays for the sheer love of it and has no use for over-production, perfection, or artistic preciousness. Getting the songs across to their fans new and old is all that seems to matter and it’s plenty enough reason to celebrate this fine release.
ST.J puts down real, bare-knuckle DIY rock that’s a whole lot more about function than form. The sound captured here is that of three true believers in a room playing together. It’s the kind of music that started this thing of ours to begin with and it’s exactly the kind that could save it today. From the opening bass riff of the first cut “One Foot,” the group rocks hard, grooves tightly, and is unafraid to be both memorable and unsettling. “One Foot” comes off like a person with a panic attack building, telling themselves “everything’s gonna be fine” over and over. It’s stark, simple production helps put the track over the top and gives everyone listening the skinny on what’s coming up next.
“The Werewolf Song” is a mid-speed chugger about...well, werewolves. It’s an oddball pop song about a less-than-fierce lycan who’d rather hang out and be cool than eat people. Just the fact that it’s about werewolves makes it hard to forget, as wolf rock isn’t a common genre. “Gone Are The Days” is an amazingly catchy track about trying to stay relevant as an aging rocker in a scene that no longer makes any sense at all. “I’m stuck here in an aging form playing guitar” sings Dave Stump, echoing a sentiment a lot of rock fans can relate to. It’s a powerful song that speaks actual truth and deserves some close listening and contemplation. Be sure to also spin “Fantastic” and “Never Enough.” ST.J is a great band that’s smart, fearless, and unrestrained, just the way rock music is supposed to be. Get a copy of Mutability and remind yourself why rock matters.
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