Stalkers - Yesterday
Described as a band that "Realise that AC/DC and New York Dolls are the only things worth listening to" (very true some might say), Stalkers, somewhat predictably, get an instant and automatic thumbs up , and get me all excited in that righteous way where your rock 'n' roll instincts kick in and suddenly the last 25 years never happened....Seconds later the emptiness of the statement suddenly hits home like a wet fish across the face. How many wastes of space have made that their mission statement and have turned out to be oh so depressingly disappointing (see Towers Of London, Jet etc..) makes you think its all been done before..
From a tremulous delight to a worrying scepticism in the blink of an eye, the CD (remember them?) goes on and we at least give Stalkers a chance to let us down..
Album opener 'Yesterday Is No Tomorrow' crashes in without warning and is quite a pleasant surprise. Bashed out guitar chords and messy drums are delivered with glorious abandon and we actually have a bit of a tune on our hands. Without pause for breath, 'Sun's Coming Up' continues where we left off with a beach boys meets the stooges romp full of bluesy licks, tom-toms and sweet vocal harmonies. The apparent clash between scruffy old school punks and beatle loving indie kids comes off well and perhaps prevents them from descending into pure copyism.
Having said that, this combination of melody and mess is nothing new and the influence of the Dolls is blatant to say the least. Tracks like 'Circus Baby', with its camp rocky horror background, and 'Let's Get it Together' are great but I'm pretty sure I've heard them before somewhere... On the plus side, they clearly don't care the slightest and this show in abundance on an album that sounds like it was brilliant fun to make.
Worryingly 'I'm Watching You' feels like a token slow one, but nevertheless is not without its charms while the almost Pete Doherty-esque slurred vocals perfectly complement the music.
Hailing from Brooklyn and with a singer bearing the cheese-tastic moniker "Andy Animal", Stalkers can legitimately sound like this and still come across as genuine. The americanisms, so often copied by British bands sit nicely here, although you do feel that they don't have much else in their locker for the future.
What is disappointing is that the anthems run dry after the 'first side'. What was refreshingly rock 'n' roll earlier turns boring quickly. 'Blame Game' and 'Silver Blood' recycle way too much, and wouldn't be missed if they weren't here. The line between classic and clichéd is getting blurry. 'I Couldn't Wait To Get Home' starts promisingly enough but goes nowhere new and the sense of dejection kicks in once again.
I would definitely enjoy this more with a can in my hand, pogoing ungracefully in a sweaty dank club and would imagine Stalkers make a much more entertaining live prospect than they do on record. This is not so much a bad album than a great E.P. stretched beyond its limits (and theres nothing new in that either...)