I guess it's tough to compare notes unless you were or are a part of it, but each region's musical world seems well traveled by the lesser known. Take Mark Stanley: boasting an impressive resume as a guitarist and songwriter for several musical acts, including playing guitar for Broadway's Reefer Madness in 2001 and being on Guitar Player Magazine's "Hot Guitarist Alert" in 2004. Whatever the sound of his previous musical endeavors, this release has all the makings of a musician still trying to figure himself out.
There are heavy brushes of Weezer throughout, with the occasional Strokes, Hives or Jet reference making itself known. The result isn't unpleasant, not by a long shot, but you rarely get the feeling Mark Stanley is behind this. He's a damn good guitar player; his buoyant hooks are what keep my grin from a grimace. But as a songwriter, he's got a ways to go. He hides behind his influences. The songs on his album 9 Volt are pretty standard, as far as length and structure go. At that, there are some awesome surprises. "Dead Dick" is one of the strongest songs on the album, transforming Stanley's awkward singing into something fiery and enjoyable in between AC/DC-inspired riffage. Actually, the metal influences seem to be really muted. You can still hear them, but it's a lot like your big brother jamming out with his friends back in the 90s. It's energetic but it's boring and even immature at times. "Asslammer" is one of the most blatantly stupid things I've heard in a while, but then Stanley has the audacity to follow it up with the shoegazey "Silos.” What gives? 9 Volt, isn't the strongest release but it has enough to keep me interested.
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