Stala & SO.



When Stala & SO. first started releasing singles off their self-titled third album, my feelings were mixed. The first single Shine Out instantly caught my attention due to a rawer sound than what I'd gotten used to with the band, Stala's vocals also having an amount of raspiness to them that wasn't there before. With repeated listens I got used to this and the song has proven itself to be an incredibly catchy and fun track worth shaking your ass to, as the lyrics encourage.


Then came the second single, When The Night Falls. This time however I was not quite as favourable - my initial reaction was that the song was surprisingly uninteresting and mediocre. And frankly, repeated listens have not changed my mind - it's a very mediocre track. I will say the live version sounds way heavier than the album version which gives the song a whole different life and the lyrics are some of the best the band has ever written.


These first two singles gave the impression that Stala & SO.'s third album would be more raw and more rock than the previous two albums, with a bit of a darker edge to it. Then came the day of the album's release and the band released a third single in the form of a lyric video for the song The Girl With The Guilty Eyes. This track didn't sound like the first two singles - it sounded like the previous album had sounded, which was clearly heavily influenced by 80s hard rock and hair metal. It was so far easily the best track to come off the album and is now in retrospect a better representation of the overall album than Shine Out and When The Night Falls. Shine Out for example sounds out of place on the album due to being recorded a lot earlier than the rest of the album, resulting in the production not matching the sound of the rest of the album. A remix for the album would've been in order, me thinks.


Stala & SO.'s self-titled album follows more or less the previous album Play Another Round's style of 80s-influenced hard rock, the most 80s track on the album probably being Living For Today which almost sounds like late 80s Whitesnake, albeit with a chorus that falls flat. As for the song I Can See It In Your Eyes, it's a moody and emotional ballad of sorts about longing and love lost that wouldn't sound out of place on Play Another Round. The last line of lyrics in the song though, if interpreted a certain way, gives the song a surprisingly sinister and dark undertone.


The best tracks on Stala & SO. wouldn't feel out of place on Play Another Round in my mind, which pleases me greatly. Said album was full of tracks that I could relate to, painting a fairly accurate picture of my life at the time. Never Again was an incredibly therapeutic track as I went through a break-up after my first relationship ended, Back Together put into words my longing for a reunion - a need I eventually outgrew, and All Alone was frighteningly accurate in depicting how isolated and alone I felt in 2012. If Play Another Round thus captured the essence of a dark period in my life, Stala & SO.'s self-titled album through the song Headlong captures it at a time where I've outgrown that darkness and have stepped out into the light of a brighter tomorrow.


Headlong is easily one of my favorite tracks on the album, capturing my feelings of leaving all bad things behind and moving forward confidently. Well that and the fact that it's an incredibly catchy track. Another incredibly catchy track on the album is Now n' Everyday. I was present at the album's release date party where Stala explained that the song was originally apparently supposed to appear on Lordi's The Arockalypse album, but was left off due to the producer deeming it too Bon Jovi. I'm glad it was finally recorded in some form because it's a damn good song.


The song on the album though that comes pretty much out of left field is You Don't Mind (Devil In Disguise). The song is produced more or less like an 80s pop song, heavy on keyboards and electronic drum beats and is surprisingly maybe even the best track on the album. My only minor gripe is that some of the keyboard melodies in the chorus could've been a bit more elaborate to support the vocals better, but overall the track is incredibly catchy and enjoyable.


Then there are of course the tracks that book-end the album. The opening track I Want More is a raucous song that can be seen not only as a party anthem and drinking song, but also as a song that still acknowledges the decadent and sometimes destructive nature of alcohol consumption. It doesn't deny the truth, but isn't judgemental either. After all, who said vices needed to be good for you anyway? Then we have the closing track Goodbye which, in all honesty, is not that great. It's not a bad track, per say, as I could imagine it being a perfectly alright little sing-a-long tune around a campfire when played with an acoustic guitar. But it's still not a very interesting track at all. Paul Stanley's Goodbye it is not.


But how is the self-titled Stala & SO. album overall then when compared to the previous two albums? Well, I would argue it's not quite as good. The album more or less follows the 80s hard rock path set by Play Another Round but while it has tons of good tracks on it, as a whole it isn't as consistent a collection of tracks. In short previous albums had more amazing songs than the new album which has one or two, the rest either being good or alright. But while it's not a great album, it's still good and that can hardly be seen as the album being disappointing. In the end if you're a fan of the band, you'll enjoy the album. As for the rest, if you wanna listen to some hard rock, there are plenty of catchy songs here for you to enjoy.




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(Review done by Markus)

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