Short Stack
Stack is the New Black


0.5

Review

by David James Young USER (181 Reviews)
August 22nd, 2009 | 421 replies | 22,382 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: No.

17 of 18 thought this review was well written

There’s a great scene in the film Tropic Thunder, in which Australian actor Kirk Lazarus is engrossed in his character as an African-American – walking, talking and acting exactly like he believes the African-American should. Alpa Chino, a fellow actor and an actual African-American, is highly bemused by Lazarus in character.

“You’re Australian!”, he shouts at him. “BE Australian!”.

This may seem irrelevant, but it’s a perfect metaphor for Australia’s pop music scene. Essentially, that is just what ninety percent of Australian pop acts are doing – acting American. Over the years and especially throughout the 00s, the United States scene, and what subsequently tops its charts, has taken the role of a big brother that we Australians attempt to impress by mimicking their every move - albeit in a far too excitable fashion to be taken seriously. Of course, it’s a formula that’s been known to work – acts such as Cassie Davis and The Veronicas have cracked an international market with their music, establishing the right connections and getting plentiful teens world wide to go batshit over their MySpace profiles.

Even the greatest pop optimists that can find good in even the largest three-and-a-half-minute irriations would be kidding themselves to even think that there wouldn’t be a few rotten eggs amongst the batch. In this instance, after seeing the success of generic, dance-oriented pop-punk take off, three teenagers from the central coast of New South Wales had the idea fly through their thick heads: “Hey, we could do that!”.

No, boys, you couldn’t. And with the release of Stack is the New Black, you still can’t. The band is Short Stack, and if you hadn’t guessed by the photos of their heavily-teased hair, jackets and tight jeans, this is a collective of faux-musicians that care far more about how they look than how they actually play. Here we have a classic case of style coming absolutely nowhere near any form of substance. The album is a start-to-finish test of human patience, a pastiche of teeny-bopper bunny-mosh choruses, one-finger synth bleeps, lifeless zombie-like rhythms and hands down the most irritating lead vocalist you may ever come across in your life.

Meet Shaun Diviney, the charming ringleader of this tween-fantasy circus. When young master Diviney isn’t busy noodling around his fretboard or churning out chord progressions Tom Delonge would spit upon (all the while under the adorable impression that he can actually play), he’s making noise with his mouth. Normally, this is called singing, but it’s an incredibly difficult stretch of the imagination to refer to this tuneless, heavily-accented whining as anything that remotely resembles what a singer should sound like. Not even AutoTune could save this migraine of a vocalist, moaning and wailing his way through lyrics like “Princess, why you so contagious?”, “Shimmy shimmy go-go!”, and possibly the finest in romantic delicacies: “Kill your boyfriend and we can be together”. What a charmer.
If you think there’s too much here about Diviney, try dissecting the work of his other two monkeys on Stack is the New Black. Bassist/backing vocalist Andy Clemmensen is virtually non-existant sonically throughout the record, which strengthens the theory that he’s just there for show. Meanwhile, if you asked Bradie Webb who his favourite drummer was, he would most likely respond with whoever creates the loops on Garage Band. Worthless musicians, the two are barely worth the sentences they have just received.

The entire affair, if you hadn’t already guessed, is completely overproduced and sickeningly glossy, free from any of those irritating elements of sound that other bands have to deal with like authenticity and musicality. Every track feels forced and artificial, products in placement of actual songs, big hooks instead of purpose. Lame duck pop such as the infuriatingly irritating “Sway Sway Baby” is matched up with little-dudes-with-attitude “punk rawk” like “Drop Dead Gorgeous”, as if to prove some kind of versatility. And when they actually attempt to make a departure from their regular sound, it gets even worse. How to describe Thick as Thieves to the blessedly uninitiated? Picture this: The song sounds as if they had listened to the weakest tracks of Decemberunderground, then an MSI record they stole from their older brother, then snorted cocaine and wrote this song within minutes. It’s an awkward mall-goth atrocity with pseudo-spooky piano and possibly the album’s worst hook – though, to be fair, arguing over which chorus is worst on Stack is the New Black is akin to cancer patients arguing over whose condition is worse.

In under an hour’s time, this trio will convince you without much trouble at all that they are everything that is wrong with the way popular Australian music is headed. Credit where credit’s due, however: If hair and make-up were an instrument, you’d be certain that we’d have a trio of virtuosos on our hand.



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user ratings (39)
Chart.
1.9
poor

Comments:Add a Comment 
AtavanHalen
August 22nd 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

This review is dedicated to Champ Kind aka DaveyBoy aka Everybody's Best Friend.

He may like a bit of shit music, but he does his best and couldn't be a dick to anyone if he tried. Not even the shit users.

So here's to you, Champ Kind.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 22nd 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

What I have to do with this virtuoso review is a bit of a mystery, but since this is your best review in a while DavID, then I will take the dedication and kid myself that I provided you with some inspiration.

Loved the summary, loved the line of "other two monkeys", loved the review. Pos.

I think I may take a listen to this. Believe it or not, the Melbourne Herald-Sun passed this album during the week (it was either 2.5 or 3 stars). They even said they expected it to be crap & was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't.

AtavanHalen
August 22nd 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

I figured you'd earned a review dedicated to you. Not only for our chats on how bad they are, but also to apologise for being a bit of a cunt lately when I've been in-character as Atavan.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 22nd 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Not too dissimilar to the likes of Metro Station & Forever The Sickest Kids, Short Stack are Australia's addition to the latest fad of immature electro pop-punk. Their debut LP 'Stack is the New Black' begins with it's energetic 4 singles, all of which carry annoyingly infectious - yet one-dimensional - hooks. Clearly aimed at teenage girls, the album is occasionally misguided in its dark lyrical content, while a genuine surprise comes in the form of a few half-decent slower cuts. The album is over-produced for its own good, since anything here verging on raw is rather horrible. Recommended Tracks: 17 & Shimmy A Go Go.

AtavanHalen
August 22nd 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

I award it no stars and may God have mercy on its soul

AtavanHalen
August 22nd 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Oh and I'm still a major cunt but you don't deserve it.
Mostly.

PanasonicYouth
August 22nd 2009



7411 Comments


i don't think you're a major cunt...
also will steer clear of this.

xNintendoCorex
August 22nd 2009



1272 Comments


OMG THIS IS AMAZING
POS

PuddlesPuddles
August 22nd 2009



4763 Comments


Haha, awesome review, man. Based on the cover, though, I probably wouldn't have given this a second look anyway

LepreCon
August 22nd 2009



3562 Comments


Best. Review. Ever.

Spare
August 22nd 2009



5250 Comments


laughed within one word

Digging: Radiator Hospital - Torch Song

ReturnToRock
August 22nd 2009



3448 Comments


oh wow, a 0.5 rating, and it's not being given by me.

awesome.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
August 22nd 2009



3760 Comments


fucking win.

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

Phantom
August 22nd 2009



8930 Comments


0.5!

Hearing this for sure.

cvlts
August 22nd 2009



8954 Comments


It might be messed up but I lol'd prty hardcore with that cancer patient analogy haha

poopty
August 22nd 2009



319 Comments


this sounds genuinely fantastic

Eclectic
August 22nd 2009



3302 Comments


Love the review
Hate the band
I give them credit for being the luckiest bastards our side of the fence though. Consider it: They are talentless, ugly idiots with egos bigger than the instruments they play. And yet, despite all this, they are as famous in Australia as the Veronicas. What serious musician doesn't want the success Short Stack have?

AtavanHalen
August 22nd 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Thanks a lot, guys.
I've just messaged this review to Shaun Diviney; hope he likes it.

Vooligan
August 22nd 2009



3541 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

This rival's Chan's Aiden review in funniness.
Awesome job, David.

PanasonicYouth
August 22nd 2009



7411 Comments


dear god, i just heard that princess song and i see where you're comin' from.
that was atrocious.



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