by Alex Monzel
If you were looking for the soundtrack to your new indie film, then look no further. Given a cursory glance, StaG‘s Don’t Check Out, appears to be just another indie album with strange vocals, low production value, and a “unique” blend of instruments. Within the first couple tracks, however, you realize that this album is not something to be written off.
Don’t Check Out rings true to its name, never allowing your focus to drift from it for very long. Between its ever shifting style, lyrical content, and chord progressions, it demands more attention than your needy ex (in the best way possible). It’s one of those albums that, much unlike today’s pop music, actually engages the listener. Don’t Check Out is captivating from start to finish, only really dipping out for a couple tracks (“Loneliness Comes” and “Panic”). It’s not just a couple singles with some padding in between; it’s an album.
The honest lyrics almost invite you into their lives, ranging from hilarious to far too real like “It’s a process, quote my therapist” from “Love is Waiting”. They often echo the sentiments of being in your 20’s: that awkward period where legally you’re an adult, but you certainly don’t feel like one, “We’ve reached an age of independence, where we drift away from our friends.” While it’s lyrical content requires a bit of experience to truly understand, its foot tapping beats and composition allow anyone to enjoy it.
Most songs blend their instrumentation quite well, though not all do. The electronic elements in “Colorado Suicidal” often feel out of place, while they’re essential to other tracks like “I Don’t Belong Here.” Similarly, the vocals range from beautiful and powerful in “Code of the Schoolyard” to clashing with the accompaniment in “Loneliness Comes.”
Side note: if you were wondering why that bassline sounded a bit familiar in “Narcissist,” it’s reminiscent of “My Sharona” by The Knack.
Keep an eye out for this band; they’re going to do amazing things. They aren’t genre-defining, necessarily, but they breathe new life into the indie sound. While they haven’t fully achieved greatness, they certainly have the capacity for it, and I’m excited to see what they do next.