Review – StoneRider – Fountains Left to Wake
It’s fun when you can be a little nostalgic about bands. It was back in 2009 that I had started a new job pretty recently to that, and The Soda Shop was still in the cradle. It was in my mad dash to discover more ‘stoner rock’ bands that I came across StoneRider. Of course, I immediately fell in love with the band. Being the broke kid that I was and the audiophile that I still am, I only had a crappy MP3 copy of their debut album, Three Legs of Trouble, and in my music snob-way, the album was left to sit on my old MP3 player that was made obsolete by my shiny, new smartphone. Of course, great music isn’t going to be ignored by me forever, so I wisely remembered them last year, and I made sure I snagged a copy of their CD. This lead me to ask the curious question, “what are these guys up to now?!” Low and behold, I find that they’re working on a new album.
A few months later, and I have a copy of the album in my hands, primed and ready for my listening pleasure. Please note the usage of the word pleasure because it certainly is that.
These guys are no strangers to southern rock. After all, the band was created out of the dissolution of the southern rock band, Fight Paris, that had existed for 5 years prior to breaking up in ’07. If any of you are familiar with Fight Paris, you’ll notice that StoneRider had toned down their sound a little into more traditional southern rock. From there, the band continued to evolve over the next 3 years that it took to write/record/release Fountains Left to Wake, and evolve they did.
Taking the sound from Three Legs of Trouble, the band seamlessly mixes in some traditional classic rock to create a uniquely modern sound, but a sound you’re not quite convinced was created in the 21st century. Of course, I mean this in the best possible way. Where their debut album was a little heavier and up-tempo, this album takes their foot off the pedal a bit. This album relies a little more on blues and groove which has me entranced. Don’t take that to mean that this album doesn’t rock, though. The album has plenty of rock go with the groove, and they aren’t afraid to break out the fuzz. “Fire & Brimstone” and “Say I Won’t” are just two, prime examples of this, but those are far from the only ones on the album.
The band did a great job laying out the tracks, as well. It’s a solid album from start to finish, though I feel the album does become noticeably stronger after the first couple of tracks and continues through to the end. One early standout is “Hot Summer Nights” which takes heavy inspiration from Led Zeppelin‘s “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”, one of my all-time favorite Zep tracks.
To be honest, the first time I heard the album, I wasn’t incredibly thrilled. I’m not sure if that’s because I was in a weird mood that night, or if I was in shock with how much they changed up their sound. A few days later, I gave it another spin and my opinion immediately changed. Maybe I got over the initial shock, or maybe the sound had to marinade a little bit, but ever since the first listen, the album has been in a heavy rotation for me. As if it hasn’t been obvious by now, this album is highly recommended by me.
If, for some reason, you’re not convinced yet, the band has an ace up their sleeve. They love audiophiles. How do I know this? Well, they not only have the album pressed on 150g vinyl, they also offer up their album for digital download, including the vinyl master of the album. If you’re unfortunate enough to not have a record player of your own, you can still enjoy the full-dynamic range master of the album. All of this is being sold through Bandcamp, too. Now what are you waiting for? Go get yourself a copy!