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The Stereofidelics

You Are Having a Wonderful Time

(Rubberneck Records; US: 18 Jun 2010; UK: 18 Jun 2010)

Talented duo keeps things surprising

The Stereofidelics consist of Chris Padgett on guitar and vocals and Melissa McGinley on drums and vocals. Despite obvious similarities to The White Stripes, The Stereofidelics mine a more funky, soulful vein, with Padgett’s snaky guitar lines and array of effects in sharp contrast to Jack White’s garage tendencies. McGinley sings better than Meg, too, and there are plenty of other sounds rounding out the mix.


You Are Having a Wonderful Time opens with the humping, growling bass line of “Zombie Foot,” a song that introduces McGinley’s languid vocals and Padgett’s effects-laden guitar playing. Other tunes carry these qualities even further; “Nice Neighborhood” features skittering guitar chords and strong dual vocals, while the mini-epic “You Are Having a Wonderful Time” shifts from angsty introspection to uptempo, dance-friendly poly-rhythms to emo arena-rock crescendos—all in six minutes. At their best, the songs’ eclecticism works well, and the musicians are adept enough to inhabit the changes convincingly.


Some songs fall flat, as in the old-timey rag of “You Would Know,” or the solo guitar instrumental “Let’s Make a Record.” Overall, though, there is much more good than bad here, and enough intriguing musicianship to leave the listener wondering where the band will go next.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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The StereoFidelics - "Zombie Foot" Live at the Grey Eagle
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