Off Key with Eric D: The Stills

Eric D'Orazio

Whether one realizes it or not, the New York indie rock scene that people have come to know and love is on its way out of popular culture. With The Strokes making vintage music that has all but fallen out of date, not to mention the artistic disappearance of Interpol, there remains little hope for the success of their following bands.

The fact that outstandingly superb groups like Elefant and Stellastarr* have failed to catch on as of yet is further proof for this. However, with every dire situation, there remains a glimmer of hope. This time around, that glimmer arrives with The Stills.

Though originating from Montreal, The Stills have been caught up in the New York scene by means of their hip look, dark mentality and catchy sound. Truly, it’s as if they are a perfect combination of The Strokes, Interpol and Stellastarr*, respectively. Yet in all honesty, they are so much more than that. They seem to transcend the scene, not bowing to its superficial attitude or need for the next big hit. They have their own special thing going on, and with their debut album, “Logic Will Break Your Heart,” they exude that specialty to a dazzling degree.

Out of the 12 brilliant tracks that make up The Stills’ debut, the first and finest is “Lola Stars and Stripes.” Opening with a series of blaring guitars and bombastic drums, the song’s ear-catching musicianship makes it the best way to start off such a great album. However, the only factor more powerful than the music are the lyrics that correspond to it.

Focusing on love during this odd time of unjust political decisions and worldwide dislike, lead singer Tim Fletcher calls upon “waiting for next week’s chemical blast,” as well as how “we all need to feel secure.” But overall, the song ponders, “will the world end me and you?” With an overall feeling of melancholic longing, and backed with one of the finest vocal hooks in recent memory, chances are there’s no end in sight.

With The Stills’ knack for incredible vocal hooks in mind, their debut’s next highlight comes along in its third track, “Changes Are No Good.” In true form to the song’s title, the band does little to further their good sound, but nonetheless, they procure another great piece. This time around, the track in question is more overtly enjoyable, basing itself in dance-oriented drums and a deep vocal hook that never lets go. Calling upon the idea that “all the world’s deranged and I’m left crushed,” lead man Fletcher vents the frustrations of heartbreak and despair, and tells all to “see me change, changes are no good.”

Following up on the more danceable aspect of “Logic Will Break Your Heart,” The Stills bring about their best song towards the album’s close. Entitled “Still In Love Song,” the piece is the most life-affirming three minutes and 40 seconds likely to be heard this year. Built around more danceable drums and a bassline straight out of the disco era, the song is simply a good time within itself. However, like the other songs on the album, “Still In Love Song” focuses around a level of heartache, this time as a result of a relationship that’s fallen apart. Yet, like a modern day “I Will Survive,” the song puts emphasis less on the “self-assured waste of space” that was the ex, but on the fact that “I’m still in love,” placed in constant and consistent repetition to further its indispensable comprehension.

When all is said and done, the truth of the matter is that The Stills make moving music. Though they seem to be just another group from the N.Y. scene, let alone another “the” band, their outstanding “Logic Will Break Your Heart,” just goes to show that they know how to write exceptional and quite emotionally connective, songs.

Not only does their work emulate their explicit views on life, but it embodies the thoughts and feelings of a generation tiring of the “toxic” Britney Spears and the overplayed but underpunk’d Ashton Kutcher. Whether or not they will find immediate success or dwindle in relative anonymity with the likes of numerous other New York bands, no one can really tell. But whatever the future may hold, The Stills seem poised to continue breaking the rules while breaking your heart.Off