Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Stats - Mercy
Label: New Atlantis
Keeping with the theme of "so, maybe I missed a few Top Twenty of 2015's...", here is a full length that I feel like I should have heard of, but didn't. Until about a month ago, and even then I didn't get around to listening to it until last week, and now I feel sorta stupid for not paying better attention.
You, like me, may recall hearing the name Hank Shteamer in reference to the Craw reissue campaign that he (successfully) spearheaded. For that alone, I suppose he's owed a debt of gratitude, as any champion of Craw is...a champion of me? Something. Turns out that Hank is the primary song writer of Stats (when not crowd funding crucial box sets)
Well, turns out he wasn't joking about the influence Craw has had on his life, or at the very least, his musical sensibilities, because Stats have a closet full of Craw t-shirts. They also have a few Sicbay shirts in there, a Don Caballero or two, possibly a Breadwinner one tucked way in the back...I mean, I don't presume to have actually surveyed their wardrobe, I'm only guessing.
Here's a record of writhing, seething, twisted, math-y, gnarled heavy noise rock. Checks a lot of boxes. The band was apparently instrumental in the beginning, but on this album they do drop in vocals from time to time, but you will certainly hear how the compositions were built as instrumentals first, as they stay complex enough to ward off most need for singing, but luckily they don't fall down some rabbit hole of wankery, they stay rocking enough to be enjoyed on both a visceral level and as intriguing musical expositions. In that way, you can hear Craw offshoot Keelhaul as a direct influence.
Craw is a tough comparison to draw because, frankly, nobody has ever really sounded like Craw in totality (which, is a good thing), but Stats do seem to be aiming in that general direction. It's a good direction to be in...you could be headed in way worse directions. If Stats can harness a bit more of Craw's mood, in their balance between crushing heaviness and out-there aura, then they would really be in rarified air. But that might require reanimating Joe McTighe.
Regardless of that bit of commentary, this is a super solid record certain to pique your interest. Highly recommended.