"Career Suicide" begins with what sounds like the destruction of pianos. This kicks into a faster paced, more immediate rhythm which is joined by some distortion and cymbals. Ultimately, this noisy breaks down with vocals now though it still doesn't quite sound like any other band I've heard before. It kicks in heavier and there are more than one set of vocals now. Is there a musical comparison for this? Maybe elements of Mudhoney in their earlier days. A little bit of Cloud Nothings.
"I think I really did a number this time" comes through as this is dark yet energetic, somewhere between math rock and flat out rock n roll. If there were horns this could be something out of the free jazz genre but the guitars, drums and electronics (which I believe provide a lot of the distortion I hear, especially the really bass based parts) just give it a genre all its own yet somehow under the general "rock" banner still. Bits of punk, bits of The Hold Steady, but neither concrete.
He's singing about how "You're just paranoid" now, which does add to that psych feel of it all somehow. You know, the feeling of looking over your shoulder without this being particularly trippy in a 1970's rock n roll way. When the flip side opens with "Firing Squad" you can really begin to hear the punk. This does remind me in some ways of the band Christiansen. These songs are really complex and the various layers in them just tend to bring out what sounds both wild and loud.
As the words "Never feel peace again" come out, it's a good way to describe the lyrics and overall mood on this record. It's something that feels uncomfortable. Socially awkward. Not sad or miserable in that sense but not happy either. It's difficult to explain until you hear it but it does have a manic sense to it as well. Listening to this record feels a lot like reading about mental health to me. Which, again, unless you've been studying the text books and listening to these songs might not be the easiest thing to understand.
A little bit of Franz Ferdinand can come out- but only for a moment- and this has that raw quality which I always send back to that first time I heard Mudhoney, though I suppose I could just as easily date myself and go back to bands such as Sprung Monkey (before they took on more of a dub vibe) and even Jimmie's Chicken Shack, but again, that's really kind of dating myself, no? I still remember seeing Sprung Monkey at Warped Tour. "Situation Life" is still such a solid album.
While I feel like a lot of the influences you will pull from this record by Stella depend upon your personal past and what you have heard over your lifetime, they still combine to craft an album of songs which on the surface might seem easy to listen to with catchy sing-along hooks but underneath it all the layers are still complex. There are still things to be discovered on this record after your first listen- even after your fourth listen- and that is one of the best reasons to not only listen to it but to continue listening.