If Stereoviolet can be compared to anyone on The Rise and Fall of O’Ren Black it would be a combo of Pink Floyd and Four Non Blondes. They are light years ahead of most rock around these days, with an alternative rock attitude, but a huge sound that rings more of the 80s than the 90s. They’re from Chicago and getting around to several states on tour and should be worth seeing once you hear this. It’s just a fact that it’s got some serious moxie to it and all starts with “Verse For Verse” being the overall most monster sized track, but it speaks for another ten gems that burn just as hot.

They get across every note by covering the likes of many influences, and Adele is probably the most modern of them all. But that’s only one aspect to frontwoman Bianca B. Black’s repertoire. This is also only in the studio, as the progressive values they bring are further expressed in their live performances. This is often the case but there is something fresh and new, as well as borrowed and blue about Stereoviolet. They’re a unit of both style and substance. The sheer talents within the band alone make up an ensemble of oozing greatness.

“The Reckoner” features a much richer vocal sound and shows some very soulful chops from her to prove this is a singer is a force to reckon with behind a wall of sound provided by what is a clean yet gritty guitar approach. The rhythm section is also piledriving to the max. The production isn’t the best, but they somehow slice through the mud with a minimum of fuss and bother. Things change up somewhat on “Shotgun” with a more melodic track that almost plays like a ballad. Her voice once again is something of the world class order. She carries the song for all it’s worth and makes it all it can be.

“The Last Stand” is my pick for the overall peaking point of the album, because of a few reasons. It’s the most diverse and-also the biggest sounding number. I don’t know what these songs are all about but there is some storyline going on. You can play it either by following along or just enjoying the songs. The only hard part about it is the vocal mix don’t allow the lyrics to jump out at you. It doesn’t hurt the vocals though, if that explains it. She’s often subdued but always volcanic sounding. If only engineered higher it would be easier to make out the words. But that’s only a small point about it.

“Insecure” plays around with some acoustic flavorings and keeps a light groove going to once again change things up. Another fine vocal on this one, and for once she comes in clearer. This is probably one of her most dazzling efforts in the whole collection. She holds her own with the best on this. And another one to recommend is “Before You Go” with its Simple Minds vibe. These are all great tracks, but they may have even saved the best for last in “Whisper” because it too has just as much to offer as the rest. They sound like a band on their way to somewhere, and getting their fast with a good product.


Mike Tabor