Life Colored Green

Stickmen

911 Entertainment, 1997

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/24/1998

For those readers who think "alternative" music comprises solely of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and the Smashing Pumpkins, you might want to read today's other review, 'cause you're not going to like what I'm going to talk about here.

Those of you who are still reading, you are the wiser ones - you already recognize that part of the alternative scene also is made up of bands who continually push the envelope of both the boundaries of the genre and the sonic sctucture of music.

Today's lab rats: Stickmen and their new disc my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Life Colored Green, a disc which is challenging, but mostly worth the effort you need to apply towards it.

This isn't pure funk like Parliament, nor is it the "joke" funk like Limbomaniacs tried to pawn off a few years ago. But brothers Steve and Andy Demirjian plow through 13 numbers that dare to walk the middle ground between both bands while establishing their own voice in rock.

Admittedly, this is not something that's easily digested. Songs like "Sick Of It All" and "Peace Pipe" are enjoyable, but they're the equivalent to a concussion to the unsuspecting listener. Harmonies and guitar solos are tossed out the window, allowing the brothers Demirjian, bassist Eddie Jo and drummer Shawn Mullen the freedom to fuck with your mind. And I gotta admit, they do a great job of that.

C'mon, how can you not love a song called "This Sucks"? (By the way, it doesn't.) Mullen's drum solo on "Red 40" puts John Bonham's "Moby Dick" to shame, while "Under The Influence" could well be the first single off Life Colored Green based on the strength of the songwriting.

But as Kermit The Frog said, "It's not easy being Green." Their cover of "Mexican Radio" leaves me - ugh - pining for the original version (who did perform the original? I'm drawing a blank), while the sonic sculpture that closes the album, "Guh," is a little too experimental for an album like this.

But if you can get past the initial adjustment to the new sound (it took me four songs before I really started to appreciate the album - and I still think I need to give it another listen or two) and you can withstand the few clunkers on the album, Life Colored Green proves itself to be a halfway decent effort, if not just a tad bizarre.

Are Stickmen going to achieve massive success with Life Colored Green? Probably not - but that's just because the world may not be ready for their style of alternative music. With a little more experience and patience, Stickmen could be the new sound in a stagnating genre.

 

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of 911 Entertainment, and is used for informational purposes only.