Storm and Stress
Storm and Stress


4.0
excellent

Review

by Lewis P. STAFF
February 19th, 2010 | 43 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We write with lament and explosions.

Storm and Stress sounds exactly like that: a Texas-sized downpour gathering against a blackened sky; or, rather, that jumble of raging inner turmoil that strains against our insides we call “emotions.” The band derive their name from the 19th century German artistic movement, Sturm und Drang, which acted as a revolution for those who felt creatively controlled by the imposed Enlightenment movement. The artists of this period stressed that the objectivity inherent in Enlightenment ideals of rationalism failed to fully express the complexities and extremes of human emotion. The literature was characterized by protagonists led to violent actions through revenge or some other irrationality; the music by its predominant use of minor key and irregular tempos meant to reflect intense emotional reactions.

In layman’s terms, Storm and Stress are an improvisational group, taking the three most basic tools (guitar, bass, drums) to create long, unwieldy shapes without distinguishable forms. This debut is by definition noise for the sake of noise, a reactionary experiment to the cult following their live performances attracted, and by no means casual listening. Each instrument talks to the other in stream-of-consciousness dialogue, wordless sentences that say more than words could, and the trick makes these emotions purely carnal. If only there were a better way of explaining how these drums pummel, in parts ferocious and soothing, how the guitar cuts the paunch of these bulging midsections until the silence stretched around each note threatens to suffocate the very life out of them. Titles like “Today is Totally Crashing & Stunned in Bright Lights” act not only as metaphors for the music therein but for the day you “get it,” when that jumble of raging inner turmoil that strains against your insides is jettisoning one note after the other out of the stereo.

Those familiar with the name Ian Williams and his work in Battles (and the earlier ‘90s Don Caballero albums) might be surprised by the stylistic 180° he underwent during the decade after lending his guitar talents here, but his mastery of the craft explains how tangible knots of melodies find their havens amongst the angles. I have, probably foolishly, described Storm and Stress as “post-rock,” though its main gimmick is notably pre-rock, but for those emotionally invested enough, the album can easily recall the fragility inherent in Slint’s Spiderland and Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock. In the popular argument of objectivity versus subjectivity in music, Storm and Stress create an interesting case for both: it is music virtually dependent on the emotional reaction it will receive, and yet becomes a beautiful achievement in songwriting when that concept is breached.



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user ratings (14)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jom
Staff Reviewer
February 20th 2010


2688 Comments


Pretty solid "Recommended by Reviewer" section.

joshuatree
Emeritus
February 20th 2010


3742 Comments


haven't heard this one but can't imagine needing another s&s album, haven't really fully comprehended under thunder yet. review is great, can see the slint/talk talk comparisons giving some people the wrong idea tho.

AggravatedYeti
February 20th 2010


7685 Comments


you've been rec'ing these guys for a while now.
on it.

plane
Staff Reviewer
February 20th 2010


6094 Comments


Took me half a year to get around to this album after hearing Under Thunder so that's understandable. You can tell that this is the band trying to figure out how best to translate the work to a permanent format. A bit flawed but still consistently solid for the length.

Anyone who misinterprets the Slint/Talk Talk comparison wasn't paying attention.

joshuatree
Emeritus
February 20th 2010


3742 Comments


i know but a lot of people here don't pay attention!

And idk I haven't listened to Under Thunder in a while but your second paragraph here basically explains why I like that album. I'll get this when in the mood and when Have One On Me stops taking over my life

Tits McGee
February 20th 2010


1876 Comments


Good review. Still haven't checked out Under Thunder yet. I suppose I'll look into that for anything S&S.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 20th 2010


15053 Comments


its just pretentious noise and radnom playing -12/5

Fort23
February 23rd 2010


2475 Comments


review is pretty cool, but it kind of sounds like this would remind me of Cream.

pixiesfanyo
February 24th 2010


1223 Comments


dig it. review is a little ridiculous.

Enotron
February 24th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

YOU'RE THE RIDICULOUS ONE!!!! YOU ARE!

thebhoy
Emeritus
February 27th 2010


4461 Comments


Wait, Ian Williams plays guitar in this? I'm in, even if it's not "Battles Ian Williams" or "Don Cab Ian Williams"

Also, I get the sense that this is sort of like the noisier parts of Don Cab, a la What Burns May Never Return? Basically I have no idea what you're talking about other than it's noisy and a lot of seemingly random shit happens. I guess I'll just have to listen to this.

plane
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2010


6094 Comments


Also, I get the sense that this is sort of like the noisier parts of Don Cab, a la What Burns May Never Return?

Yeah, his work on here had a heavy influence on his later work with Don.

thebhoy
Emeritus
March 1st 2010


4461 Comments


oh, okay that's good to know.

plane
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2010


6094 Comments


fucking love this shit

Enotron
March 8th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The problem with this record is that it's incredibly samey.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2010


15053 Comments


' The only thing I would change would be "sound for the sake of sound" to "fracas pour le fracas,"'

lol

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2010


6094 Comments


The only thing I would change would be "sound for the sake of sound" to "fracas pour le fracas," but that's only because I'm an elitist prick. But seriously, great review.

Consider it done. Much appreciated man.

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2010


6094 Comments


yeah

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2010


15053 Comments


lewis will you ever do a review of UTAFL? js

SeaAnemone
May 12th 2010


20587 Comments


holy shit this is worth far more than the $3 I paid for it today. good buy eric.

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