Thursday, October 1, 2009

EP Review: Stagecoach - 'We Got Tazers' (Alcopop)

(This article was originally written for the website Muso's Guide,

In an interview with The 405 recently, Stagecoach claimed that “We wanted to make Country music but then things evolved around the time we rediscovered our tape collections from 1993. The songs are about the usual stuff, hot dogs, girls, cars.” Bearing that in mind, the music on their new EP We Got Tazers doesn’t hold much surprises: this is breezy, unpretentious power-pop, delivered with no little enthusiasm or panache.

The title track is a jaunty affair distinguished by chiming guitars and a nagging chorus hook (“Who needs guns when/We got tazers/Knocking down the doors and smashing the windows of our neighbours”), while ‘Hotdoggin’ is a rousing alt-country workout with echoes of Primal Scream’s Give Out But Don’t Give Up/’Country Girl’ phases or Wilco’s breezier, less abrasive moments. Both are enjoyable and charming in their own way, but there’s a lack of invention or individualism that’s even more apparent on the unremarkable brace of ‘Break’ and ‘Ice Age’. ‘Good Luck With Your 45’, meanwhile, goes for the anthemic jugular with chunky power-chords and a grandstanding chorus tailored for mass festival singalongs. It’s more than a little cheesy, and may cause flashbacks for anyone who lived through the Britpop wars.

Stagecoach may be aiming for the same sweet spot hit by Teenage Fanclub or Fountains Of Wayne, but their songwriting lacks the bittersweet, wistful quality that marked those acts out. There’s potential here for sure, but when there’s a plethora of new music coming at us from every angle, it’s all the more important for a band to either push boundaries or impress us with a distinctive personality. Hot dogs, girls and cars can only get you so far.

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