Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

The Stellas – Music for Umbrellas

July 17, 2003

This cd is titled astutely. You can take this out on a rainy day, and have shelter from the elements (mood-wise). This girl-fronted punk band isn’t your average dime-a-dozen punk run-of-the-mill. They sport no bassist, but there are bass lines, don’t worry. Although males might have a problem with the pink-ness of this album, the gain cancels out the semi-embarassment.

The album starts off with a bang, producing the catchy, upbeat “Better Off” about a relationship gone wrong. The Stellas’ lyrics mostly deal with relationships, for better or worse. This chorus is such a sing-along that they even put some guys singing along in the background on the last chorus.

The aforementioned lyrics become cliché and overwrought on the next song, “When He Says He Loves Me”. The vocals are also bland during the verses, leaving them nothing to stand on. The chorus has a male and female backup voice, which sounds very cool, as the male voice is an interesting style. The bridge is a killer keyboard riff which you will find yourself humming incessantly.  Together they make this song one of the most fun songs on the album.

‘I Am Wrong’ passes without much ado, which leads into the best sounding track on the album: “Girlfriend”. Their radio single, it features a nifty percussion riff, played on two drumsticks. The guitar line, if not creative, sounds fresh with the keyboards added in. A hummed bridge adds to the character of the song. We continue though ‘Fluff My Aura” which spotlights backup vocals (if backups are the most important, are they still backup?), and “The Bulletproof Anthem” which starts off well but drags way too long.

Next is a cover of The Cars classic “You’re Just What I Needed” which lacks the punch of the original but it still worth a listen. Another short song is tacked on the end, presumably another cover, called “Da Da Da”. “I-40”, the most introspective lyrically, introduces an absorbing bass line, before stating “My hypocritical side…is my downfall.” The CD ends on a green day-ish note, with an acoustic song. Actually it’s an every punk band idea now….but it WAS a green day idea.

Overall, there is much room for improvement, such as development of all the little-used talent in the band (male vocals, great bass playing, lyrical content), and overall refining of material. A good debut, worth the cash. 7 out of 10

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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