Much more driven than the two albums that followed it, Staring Back’s “The Mean Streets of Goleta” has an urgency about it, a sense of youthfulness indicative of a time in which those feelings were still allowed. Now, bands are pretty much forced to be individuals reminiscing about this past, while assuming the part of an old sage – The Atari’s “In this Diary” really is a track that illuminates this. Sounding not unlike contemporaries JFT, Staring Back on this disc has an unpolished sound that just draws me to the act as opposed to the more tuned-up and proper followed-up disc. Sung in a snotty voice, tracks like “the end” really are foreshadowing the later desire to look back – this track is the musical equivalent to a bunch of 15 year olds reminiscing about 3rd grade. With lyrics like “love was so much more than magic, was so much easier than now”, the first seeds of maturity are sown. “That’s It”, the following tack, brings any assumptions about the band back into the shop – this track sounds more like a Dead Kennedys / M.O.D. outtake than one from a band who wishes to assume the mantle of adulthood. Also of note is the more-spastic rough version of “Mom”, which Staring Back would later put on their “Many Will Play” disc, albeit in a much more anemic fashion. Some songs even go further than being a diamond in the rough style of song, and really might have benefited from a little more polish, as is the case with “Losing Ground”, which is strong lyrically but clunky in its transitions. Fortunately for the continuity of the disc, the strongest track follows “Losing Ground” in “Every Other Day”. “Every Other Day” is nearly twice the length of “Losing Ground”, and shows more of the cohesiveness that later Staring Back albums would simply be known for.
Top Tracks : Mom (Rough Version) and Losing Ground