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It’s not surprising to find references to record stores and record players on Stag’s self-titled, full-length debut. Or for that matter, a faithful cover of Eric Carmen’s “Get The Message” from his days with Cyrus Erie in 1969. The Seattle-based Stag, fronted by vocalist Steve Mack of the UK’s That Petrol Emotion, packs a power pop wallop that harks back to an era when Cheap Trick and Carmen’s better-known group, The Raspberries, pretty much released everything on vinyl.
Stag’s chief songwriter, guitarist-singer Ben London, draws from a variety of influences, such as The Who on the energetic “Ides Of March,” and the original British Invasion on the catchy and fun tribute to indie labels, “Love Her Records.” London’s knack for satire shines through on the galloping “Chameleons,” with its images of diners fighting over a check and urgent chorus of, “What are you waiting for, you’re running out of time.” The rollicking “Tiffany Rose” depicts a woman so caught up in the latest trends, she disappears within her high fashion clothes and make-up. Mack offers a wide range of vocal styles throughout these 12 tracks, and creates some inventive harmonies with London and guitarist-vocalist Lincoln Barr.
Nice review from the Seattle Weekly
Stag, Stag (out now, Fin Records, themightystag.com): Stag is a sort of indie-rock supergroup, with an inaugural full-length produced by indie-rock super-producer Jack Endino. Their tunes are tight, exuberant, and fun, characteristics that feel oddly nostalgic—in a wholly positive way—when set against the mopier acoustic fare which is emblematic of the Seattle scene today. MIKE SEELY (Fri., Jan. 25, Barboza)
Powerpopaholic just posted a great review of the new Stag LP. Check it out!
After an impressive EP last year, Seattle’s Stag presents its new self-titled LP chock full of pretty pop melodies and big hook filled guitar riffs. Similar to Cheap Trick, Big Star, Redd Kross and Guided By Voices it blasts off with “These Times,” a strong anthem for you to get up and take action.
For those who worked in record stores ”Love Her Records” is a great tribute with its Big Star riff. “Don’t Lead With Your Heart” is another melodic gem about another heartbreak, and overall there are no real duds here, although the slower tunes don’t resonate as much. Other standouts include: “Tiffany Rose,” Ides of March” with a cool horn flourish, and my favorite here -”Don’t Call Me” with its classic power pop rhythm.
Steve Mack (That Petrol Emotion)’s cool, enthusiastic voice hasn’t changed, and this new Seattle five-piece, including songwriter/guitarist Ben London (ex-Alcohol Funnycar), tries a more classic rock-pop song, and a good one, than either older group was known for. With Seattle vet Jack Endino behind the board, “Don’t Lead with Your Heart” comes off like a ’70s nugget by guys with one foot each in that era’s singles scene and rock ballroom circuit from Fillmore to Fillmore. Shakespeare’s 1599 Julius Caesar-referencing B-side “Ides of March” (woe to the Roman emperor, March 15, 44 BC) comes out more definitely in the later camp; with its swinging horns, it pays clear homage to 1970-1973 Who, from “My Wife” to “The Real Me.” [Limited-Edition numbered 500 copies on colored vinyl.)
ROCKTOBER review of the new Stag LP
“Sounds like a Cheap Trick cover band decided to write originals and a magic alien helped them by enchanting their instruments and they hired a good producer and workshopped some killer lyrics.”
Travis Hay over at Guerrilla Candy voted STAG one of the best local rock records of 2012!
This group of local scene vets – Ben London, Lincoln Barr and a few others – joined forces with producer dynamos Jack Endino and Johnny Sangster to create one of the best power-pop-rock records in recent years. If you like The Posies, Super Deluxe or Big Star, you can’t go wrong with Chamelon.”