So I’ve heard it all. The Stills (The Stills! The Stills!) are the next big thing, the city’s new “it” boys, Interpol’s favorite band, a new breed of French Canadian superheroes, the band Joy Division ripped off, so on and so forth. Reports have surfaced recently suggesting that members of the Stills have also invented pants and cured SARS. And now, after all that, I’ve finally heard the EP.
Rememberese, the band’s first proper release, offers up a quick four songs and a brief peak into what to expect from these boys down the road. I’m sure I could name drop a lot of bands that you’d expect, and I’m sure you would go “I knew he was going to do that,” and then I’m sure I’d be bummed that you found my review predictable and boring, so let’s just skip the whole fiasco, OK? Instead, let’s look at the record. Just to be clear, the EP contains two full-band tracks, one acoustic song recorded on a 4-track in Dave’s bedroom, and a remix of the lead track. In short…it’s short.
The first song, “Still in Love Song,” is the big winner. You’ve probably heard it already, and if you haven’t, you will soon. This is exactly the kind of song that can (and, for these gentlemen, did) create hella hype hella quick. Simply put, it’s an extremely well-crafted piece of pop music: dark and moody guitars move delicately over a headnod-able bass line. The distinctive vocals help bring about a solid hook or five, and the pieces are brought together seamlessly. The NME (over)hype machine already has its eager little fingers all over this one, labeling it a single of the year contender and all that fun stuff. This song is the reason you buy this album.
“Killer Bees,” the second track, is solid but not spectacular. Showcasing more of the same new-wave influences, the song retains some of the somber atmosphere of “Still in Love,” but lacks the vocal work that really makes the previous song a standout. Nonetheless, solid musicianship all around and a fair enough indicator that “Still in Long Song” isn’t a fluke. “Talk To Me,” a shaky recording clocking in at under a minute and a half, is a quick glimpse into a more stripped-down version of the band and a brief demonstration of some slightly Brit-rock influenced songwriting. The remix of “Still in Love” manages not to ruin the track, but it certainly doesn’t add anything either: the song stands alone, and the remixed version lacks the pacing and movement that make the original great. No need to dwell on this, however, as I don’t believe the band itself was responsible (the liner notes attribute it to Gus and Werner from the Boiler Room).
In the end, the Stills — Canada’s most talked about gift to New York since Vice — have a brief yet solid EP on their hands. Rememberese is a tantalizing debut that does well enough to explain the hoopla, but I think I’ll wait (Anxiously…OK fine. Very anxiously.) for the recently completed full-length, slated for an October 7 release, to anoint them saviors of some sort.