Sixteen Reasons Why (Onefoot)
by Scott Hefflon
Four fresh-faced punks from, of all places, Connecticut release a, you guessed it, 16-song release with a lot of good stuff on it. Learning the punkpop lessons from the Epitaph/Fat roster, filtered through a touch of Beach Boys melodies and harmonies (I disagree with the Queers references, digging back to their source) and more than a bit of traditional rock radio fodder. I used to live in CT, so I applaud any band who can live in the limbo between the big city (New York) and its sissy sister suburb (Boston) and still have any shred of identity. Truthfully, Steadfast‘s strongest moments come neither in the music-geek virtuosity nor in the cleverly layered harmonies, but in the interesting vocal tones they get and their repeated dynamic of offsetting a driving punk beat with a half time whoa-whoa chorus.
Unfortunately, the production is spotty and erratic and, to be honest, Steadfast just doesn’t have enough killer songs to warrant a 16-song release. After making it to the end (which seems to’ve faded in intensity, fallen out of tune, and is considerably quieter than the beginning) – well, the closing track, “Accepting Defeat” is damn good, but it’s almost too little too late – I took real pleasure in listening to the first few songs again. Fave tracks: “Anymore” with its doobie-doobie-down style chorus and “I Love Rock and Roll” riff is irresistible; “Nauseated” has the chipper drums (pop-pop, pop!) of the Descendents and mixes very comfortable elements from both rock and punk in, and from there, a tip of the ballcap goes out to Screeching Weasel, the chorus pedal, and a bunch of other likable inspirations. Sixteen Reasons Why woulda been more successful as Four, maybe Five Reasons.