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June 22, 2024

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Armstrong (Messy Records)

By: Alex Steininger

When you think of ska do you think of Provo, Utah? Me neither, but as I've learned from years of life experience, don't count anything out. And on that note, let me introduce Stretch. A ska/power-pop band hailing from you've got it...Provo, Utah. Their latest release, Armstrong, brings you twelve delicious treats that you too can get messy with.

The CD starts off with "New Orthophonic." It reminds me of a trip to the circus. Or maybe even the carnival that's in town, with all it's rides. The music will bring that feeling to you. Remember your childhood. Remember when everything was pure and sweet. Life was so innocent then. But don't worry, "Kiss the Bride" brings you some laughter with their comical approach to music. But that's not all Stretch is about. Oh no, they know how to make you forget everything and just have a good time. And a good time is what you'll have. "Truth Surrup" brings forth some pleasing horns, while some very up tempo guitar jumps everything into full throttle. As a big smile creeps up on your face, laughter suddenly erupts from your mouth. Soon you'll be head over feet in love with this band. Your feet will be itching to move, and you'll jump up and skank the night away to this disc. The drums will keep everything meaty and loud, while the bass will pull everything together. But back to the horns again. They'll drive right for your heart and build their new home there, all the while you'll be jumping and skankin' around your CD player. "Lounging In a Mood Rut" keeps the buffet of ska coming. From hooky pop riffs to feet movin' ska, the guitar will hammer out the tunes that will keep the spirit alive. If your not enjoying yourself by this track, the only thing to do is smash the disc and go seek treatment for your depression. "B-Minus Soap" adds some swing into the picture. Actually, this song is where third wave ska meets swing, with pop music joining them in parts. Sound interesting? Well, not any band could pull it off. But Stretch can, and you'll find yourself looking around the room looking for someone to grab and swing along with. "Tug of War" throws a large portion of their pop sense your way, but underlines it all with some very danceable ska riffs and heavy horns sure to soothe over your mind. "Flabbergasted" finishes the album off, and let me tell you it will leave you "Flabbergasted." It starts off with some heavy surf-like beats, but quickly jumps into some vigorous ska beats, and then trims down the pace a bit. But not that much. With the beautiful sounds of the keyboards lining everything, you'll quickly be dancing (if you weren't already!) But this the final track? Or is there a hidden track? Well...we can't tell you know, can we? We want to leave some mystery for you to discover.

Let it be known, I'm a tremendous pop-rock freak. And I also enjoy ska music. So when I listen to Stretch I'm getting the best of both worlds, so I can't recommend this band enough. Support independent music, and pick up this CD. A definite A+. I sat here debating whether I should give the CD an A or an A+, and I realized this CD just fills the air with so much humor, emotion, and energy that giving it an A wouldn't be enough. These guys definitely deserve some attention, so pick up their CD and tell all your friends about them.

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