I used to drive 45 minutes each way to work. Now I have the distinct privilege of walking to my office each morning. I don’t take this for granted … except on days like today when it is pouring down rain. (It’s been a really rainy winter in Auburn.) In addition to being wet upon arrival, my motivation takes a serious hit when my window (another wonderful privilege!) shows nothing but slate gray. So I’m looking for something to pep me up. The Stereo State‘s Crossing Canyons is just the ticket.
Although it refers to large bodies of water a distressing amount (“Across the Susquehanna,” “The Flood”), the rock/punk of Crossing Canyons has been motivating me to get things done. This is no-frills rock: heavy rhythm guitars, melodic lead guitar work, four-on-the-floor rhythm section, and gruff male vocals give this a familiarity that allowed the EP to quickly endear itself to me. Sometimes you don’t need to rewrite the playbook, if running the plays to execution gets the job done. And the quintet does indeed pull this all off well.
Opener “Across the Susquehanna” sets the tone for the album by introducing the vocals and guitar alone, covering themes of travel, belief in music, and coming home. Is there anything more timeless? These topics and sounds could end up seeming rote, but the band makes them sound fresh with some great guitar work and a propulsive energy throughout the song and album. “American Bones” takes more standard punk and rock parts and applies them in a way that works; I could explain it, but you’ll instantly know what I mean when you hear it. It’s like when you go buy a new shirt that’s kind of like your old one, but just enough different that you love it in its own right. The perfect production job has a lot to do with this, as well as the excellent vocals. Sometimes frontmen can bring somewhat ambiguous contributions to a band, but Stereo Sound vocalist Andy Frongillo ties the whole sound together and makes the EP into a must-hear.
If you’re into rock’n’roll, pop-punk, or need a rainy-day pick-me-up, I can thoroughly recommend Crossing Canyons by The Stereo State.