Leeroy Stagger – Depression River (CD)

There is a heavy amount of alt-country present during Leeroy Stagger’s “Where I Live”. The vocals seem to blend John Mellencamp and Tom Petty. This means that while the songs are eminently radio-friendly, they have a little bit of grit present that establishes eir as someone completely different from what is pushed at the moment. The material is a little sparse for a nearly-five minute track, but Stagger ends the track before really sounding as if ey is in a rut. There is more of a rock style during the title track, which has the added benefit of increasing cohesion and breaking Stagger free of the exact same framework that fueled the first track.

The track is not as catchy as “Where I Live”, but still shows a strong effort on Stagger’s part. The rest of Stagger’s band, The Sinking Hearts, are able to put together music that is very emotionally charged and full of heart, even if what is being played is not necessary experimental. The third tradck on the disc is “Wish You Were The Trees”, and this song brings Stagger into yet another genre. This time, ey finds eir way into a more alternative type of sound, one that is at the edge of the emotional alternative that fueled the efforts from labels like Deep Elm in the nineties. Perhaps the strongest thing about Stagger is the fact that the tracks may be anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes and still only feel as if Stagger is enticing listeners for around two minutes.

The only thing that seems to be a weakness of “Depression River” is Stagger’s reliance on the same tempos and general influence bundles throughout the disc. While it does seem as if ey uses a number of styles during the earliest tracks on the disc, this rapidly turns into a feeling of complacence on Stagger’s part. There are simply only a few styles that Stagger uses over the entirety of the disc, and while Stagger gets points for introducing these styles slowly, by the time that a track like “Payback” ends, individuals feel as if Stagger has little more to add to the equation. The music is catchy, the singing more so, but it seems as if this 4th release by Stagger needs a little more experimentation added to it. Perhaps Stagger could stay away from the studio for a few years and really craft a hit; I know ey would be able to, if given the chance.

Top Tracks: Satellite, Saskatoon

Rating: 5.2/10

Leeroy Stagger – Depression River / 2006 Boompa / 13 Tracks / http://www.leeroystagger.com / http://www.boompa.ca / Reviewed 03 June 2007

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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