There is nothing that’s particularly bad about Stir’s Holy Dogs and that seems to be part of the problem. Despite first impressions and the band’s best efforts, Holy Dogs lifelessly exists. In all instances, Stir just sounds like they’re going through the motions of being a rock band. There’s nothing passionate or even interesting going on here.
The opening track, “Superstation” sets the tone for the rest of the album. With the lyrics mostly focusing around the nonsensical “Won’t you ride my superstation?” Stir comes across as a new wave band from the ‘80s still desperately trying to prove their relevancy to old fans. Once the obligatory introspective ballad “Climbing the Walls” begins, all hope for Holy Dogs is lost.
There are a few moments on Holy Dogs that do reveal a glimpse of a Stir that’s more than what they seem to be, from the folky “Velvet Elvis” to darkly straightforward “Spaceman,” but for the most part, Stir barely seems like they’re trying. All these songs are devoid of anything exciting or inspiring.
Lyrically, Stir’s songs are one batch of throwaways after another. “I’d sing a song for you / I’d even change my tune” they sing on “New Beginning.” On “Help,” the opening line and chorus is “If I can’t find a way, could someone ahead of me point towards what I’ve known and where I’m supposed to be?” The rest of the lyrics on this album pretty much follow this same pattern of “who care?” sorts of inanity. The lyrics might be palatable if Stir managed to deliver them with any sort of sincerity. However, it seems like even they don’t care what they’re singing about.
Stir plays their instruments with fairly standard skill, but they throw in various noises every now and then in an attempt to prove they’re so much more than a standard rock band. Unfortunately, it is executed without any skill and just reinforces the fact that Stir is nothing more than a standard rock band and no amount of synthesized sounds will ever disguise that fact.
Stir’s Holy Dogs aspires to be nothing more than what it is, and that is a mediocre album from a mediocre rock band. They seem to make no attempt to disguise their lack of enthusiasm for the music they play, and if they don’t care, no one else should either.
// Notes from the Road
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