There’s a moment in every music listener’s life when you pop in an album, press play and start ambling around the room expecting nothing, when out of nowhere comes a shockingly wonderful song, a stunner that puts the rest of the world on pause as you pull your jaw back up, blink quickly a couple of times, and devote your attention to every second of the three-minute jingle. Such is the case with “Lola Stars and Stripes,” the opening track to the Stills’ debut, Logic Will Break Your Heart. Starting with such a bang places tremendous pressure on the remaining tracks, and it is with little surprise but much disappointment that the Stills are unable to attain such high levels on the rest of the album.
The only other comparable track is “Still in Love,” the song that garnered the Stills attention in the first place. Yet the two tracks couldn’t be more distinct; whereas “Still In Love” brought on the hype due to its depressing-turned-dancing tune, “Lola Stars and Stripes” opens with self-assured drumming before being interrupted by an overwhelming buzz of guitars. Everything is louder, stronger and more confident, allowing the band to create a pop opus of sorts, with four different sections all smoothly transitioning. Vocalist Tim Fletcher’s voice transcends mundane, as his range flutters and fluctuates, emphasizing moments in the chorus when he drops a few octaves to sing the word “afraid.”
Yet for all of their originality on this track, the Stills can’t come up with anything equivalent or greater on the rest of the album. While “Love and Death” opens with equally confident drumming, the rest of the track doesn’t quite get there; the guitar riff in “Allison Krausse” is the musical translation of the word “heartache,” yet the actual lyrics are hardly satisfying. There isn’t lack of potential; there is just a lack of cohesive tracks that from first note to last beat control your attention.
The Stills best sum up their mindset themselves, creating a chorus using the line, “See me change / Changes are no good.” Following this line of thought, stagnancy must make perfect sense. But in actuality, it’s their changes, their risks and their moments full of confidence and bravado that make a lasting impact. Although listening to Logic Will Break Your Heart may, with its astonishing opener, actually break your heart, you shouldn’t let it. Like every relationship, it has its ups and downs, but it’s still worth your time.