Have you ever wondered what a cross breed of Indie, Hip-Hop and Pop music would sound like? Well take that thought and pepper it with masses of attitude, palpible passion, boundless energy and an overdose of stage presence and you have…The Stow – their excellent fusion of genres, hard-hitting lyrics, humour and unapologetic rawness make this band worth getting stuck into. It will be worth your while, I tell ya!
The Stow have graced stages all over the UK including Club NME and Barfly Camden in the two years in which it’s been formed. Their credentials include supporting UK artist VV Brown on tour and performing at the cream of all UK musical festivals, Glastonbury. Being selected as the recipients of the 2010Camden Crawl ‘Best Live Act’ amongst other accolades continues to prove thatThe Stow are leaving their indelible imprint on the underground music circuit and are more than ready to stomp their way to the forefront of the mainstream.
The music is what brings us here however – their latest release is titled The Covers EP. The 4-track EP is the second EP from the fast-rising band, it follows up from their debut EP – 2010’s Just Another Band which we featured right HERE last year and rated highly but does their sophomore effort improve on that debut project? Resoundingly very much so!
Penned by the band’s vocalists Haydn and Shi, the opening track of this new EP – ‘Give A Damn‘ – pretty much slaps you upside the head and demands that you sit all the way up and pay attention! That exactly is what you will do as Shi unapologetically launches into the following lyrics:
“Fuck what the others say cause we don’t really give a damn… Cause we don’t give a monkeys, we don’t, we don’t give a monkeys, no!”
The guitar contribution on the verses is raw and gritty, really giving this track the necessary ‘Rock n Roll’ element. This provides the setting for Haydn’s offering, which reveals an honest reaction to such negativity and the seed of doubt it can place in one’s mind. But soon after this, Haydn shares with us the epiphany one receives when they realise…. “I shouldn’t allow anyone else’s negativity to affect me“. Haydn’s lyrics are cheeky but still effectively portray the reality of the situation.
This catchy song has every potential to become an anthem, as it boldly declares that The Stow are not willing to change who they are or what they do to conform to the masses… Perhaps this is a subliminal message to the industry’s tendency to sanitise music? Hmmm. Regardless, I’m sure everyone can relate to the message of ‘Give A Damn‘ but I’ll let you judge for yourself below:
Tinie Tempah‘s “Written in the Stars” is the inspiration behind this next song I want you to check out titled ‘Lifeline‘. Strong guitar licks serve as the appropriate introduction to Shi’s kickass vocals. The build-up provided by the accompanying pacy guitars, thumping drum kicks and crashing cymbals, almost create a crescendo which aptly leads us into the first verse.
Then enters a contrasting change of tempo and mood with a slowed-down musical backdrop as Haydn launches into a melancholic tale of a broken home, school bullies and seeking solace in alcohol with honest and forthright lyrical content that appears to be autobiographical. The mood is uplifted as he finishes with a reminder of what his dreams once were and that it is possible to get back on track.
‘Lifeline‘ illustrates a tale of refusing to allow your current environment and circumstances to assassinate your dreams. Again, another topic I’m sure we can all relate to and is intelligently executed by the contrasting tones of the chorus and verses. ‘Lifeline‘ tells a story of emerging from the darkness and being led to triumph as the song reaches a crescendo.
The inspiration for ‘Angels‘ is drawn from House of The Rising Sun. A subtle guitar intro eases us into this track, providing the somewhat ethereal sensation of floating/drifting. Once again, The Stow use a change of tempo – with more pronounced chords and licks and distinct backing harmonies – to lead us into Shi’s commanding vocals while maintaining the same mood and tone. The listener is abruptly brought back by Haydn’s staccato verse, accompanied by the distinctive brass section.
‘Angels‘ feels like the intimate fusion of two which causes an ascension to higher heights. Far from a cheesy love song or crude depiction of an intimate exchange, ‘Angels‘ portrays the euphoric experience of a deeper mutual union.
It’s safe to say that this EP is more than a collection of “covers”, it’s really only a “covers” EP in the title. The Stow have drawn inspiration from their favorite popular Pop stars – Tinie Tempah, Katy Perry et al – as well as their individual music styles and songs to create an EP that not only compliments and is inspired by these mainstream artists but also shines light on The Stow‘s musical and artistic dexterity. The band truly make their mark on these records and listeners will not ordinarily be able to figure out the original artists and songs being referenced on this EP. This EP does more than enough to showcase the creativity and originality ofThe Stow. I do have one criticism however, The Covers EP – at only 4 tracks – is TOO short! Outrage! *Huff* but alas I digress…
The work ethic and versatility of this band allow their music to reach and be accessible to a wider and more varied demographic. I predict that The Stow will soon take their rightful place on the UK mainstream music scene, boldly flying the British flag but in the mean time…