The Stereofidelics: You Are Having a Wonderful Time

[5 December 2010]

By David Maine

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.

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