Laura Stevenson
Sit Resist


4.5
superb

Review

by toxin USER (20 Reviews)
November 5th, 2011 | 78 replies | 2,861 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: More than just charming

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

In terms of music, I hardly consider the term ‘charming’ to be a compliment. By strict definition of ‘compliment,’ it probably is, but that doesn’t change the fact that ‘charming’ implies something is missing. It’s much like exchanging pleasantries; sure, the conversation may be nice, but it is neither memorable nor intimate. Many indie and folk artists (particularly female-fronted ones) do little to break out of this shell, creating albums that make me think, “Yeah, that was pretty good,” but do little to inspire me to re-listen to them. It’s not so much that they do anything wrong so much as not doing anything extraordinarily well. Thankfully, with Sit Resist, Laura Stevenson and the Cans avoid falling into this trap.

One way to break out of the ‘charming’ mold is to place a heavy emphasis on melody, and I’ll be damned if I find someone who doesn’t want to just sing along to the definitive album highlight ‘Master of Art’ as Stevenson sings, “I could lie and say to you that this will soon be over/ I could lie and say I knew we would be waking up tomorrow.” Yeah, the lyrics are cutesy and the arpeggiated guitar chords dreamy, but the song is so much more than the sum of its parts. It's is pretty much Laura and her Cans telling the world, “Yeah we can take your typical indie song and make it ***ing awesome.” And then in ‘The Healthy One,’ the band continues this more upbeat approach, and by the time the accordion reenters at the climax, you can’t help but to think, “Man, this album is really something special.” Thankfully, the same is true for most of the rest of the songs, too---even many of the songs that start off slow delightfully crescendo into something simultaneously wonderfully folksy. After the French horns temporarily leave in ‘Barnacles,’ Stevenson has her charm on full gear, but they return, transforming the song into something more than an above-average run-of-the-mill folk song.

At the same time, other songs show Stevenson noticeably quieter, but even here, the intimacy adds to the songs to create something more than just ‘charming.’ ‘Finish Piece’ is everything your favorite indie rock band wishes it could write, forsaking bombastic instrumentation in exchange for a breathtaking closeness. Who doesn’t empathize even slightly with Stevenson’s desperation as she repeats, “Please take a piece of me”? At just 1:46 long, this song makes it fairly easy to identify these sorts of tracks: they’re the shorter tracks. It’s nice to have the band not stretch out its emotion past however long the emotion lasts, avoiding any possibility of any contrivance within the album. But this isn’t to say the band doesn’t resist sitting comfortably within the constraints of indie-folk with the more banjo-laden ‘Montauk Monster,’ but even then, they keep it interesting with inharmonious guitars melodies playing at the beginning, banjos swelling to the climax, and the entire band laughing at the end of the song. Instead of being an indistinguishable conglomeration of like-sounding, downtempo indie-rock, Sit Resist's songs each have their own worth---something to stand out and make the entire album something more than simply ‘pleasant.’

Essentially the band’s effort on Sit Resist can be likened to the second and third-to-last tracks, ‘The Wait’ and ‘The Weight.’ The clever homophonic titles show a likable side of the band, but both tracks are really breathless songs, with the former showing the soft-loud dynamic that merges the band’s folk influences with their rock origins and the latter showing the emotional weight of the downbeat, slower songs. All this makes for one hell of a record.

Call it a classic album. Call them a band full of potential. Hell, call it a charming album. But make sure you know exactly what you mean with that description.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
toxin.
November 5th 2011



11824 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is me venturing into a different genre, with a more playful (and less formal) tone. I also was not as familiar with this album as I was with my previously reviewed ones, so let me know how this was.

This album, incidentally, has opened my eyes up to Americana/ folk, which is why I really thought I needed to write a review for it.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2011



48587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great job

Digging: Banner Pilot - Souvenir

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2011



17914 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

rating too low

toxin.
November 5th 2011



11824 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha thanks but some feedback would definitely be welcome. Chan I was super tempted to 5 this (and I
probably will eventually) but I just can't find the same value in 'Red Clay Roots' that you do. When I
do I'll probably change my rating (and possibly/probably my review's)

foxblood
November 5th 2011



6797 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

didn't think this was more than charming, but i seem to be the only one who thinks that. really good review though, can't think of anything that needs work. it's good to hear this opened you up to a new genre

toxin.
November 5th 2011



11824 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was actually thinking of mentioning that those charming albums just get 3s and 3.5s and I never really listen to them again, so it's cool how you gave it a 3.

And yeah, I still have a long way to go in listening to folk but at least I know not to automatically rule those albums out from list of recs

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2011



48587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ah Foxy come on

Satellite
November 5th 2011



19929 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

anyone who hates this is a boorish asshole PROVE ME WRONG

Digging: The Menzingers - Rented World

Satellite
November 5th 2011



19929 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

also, it may have been from proofreading maniac's review, but referring to this album as "charming" is almost a cliche at this point (and maybe that was the purpose of yr review; didn't read past the sum [i promise i will when sober]). it's like a backhanded compliment kind of.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2011



48587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Charming
Almost as much as Mrs. Plinkett

toxin.
November 5th 2011



11824 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

who actually hates this
I mean come on

toxin.
November 5th 2011



11824 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah Sat that was (kind of) the point of the review. That calling it 'charming' isn't sufficient for
how awesome it is.

Satellite
November 5th 2011



19929 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

so basically the short version of this review is that maniac is a stupid asshole OKAY POS'D

(j/k maniac)

foxblood
November 5th 2011



6797 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

judging from the ratings only two people hate this. it's a good album, i might bump my rating idk

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2011



48587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

AOTY bro

foxblood
November 5th 2011



6797 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

damn bro what am i missing then. there's been so much good shit this year though. i'll give it a few more attentive listens

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2011



48587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Watch this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYbS6m8yze4

Satellite
November 5th 2011



19929 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sweet vid trebro

they're so fucking good live

toxin.
November 5th 2011



11824 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, they're amazing live.
@foxblood, hope you hear the same things we do on subsequent listens

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2011



7012 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thought the opening line said "I hardly consider the term ‘channing’ to be a compliment".

Digging: Pixies - Indie Cindy



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