Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stick Figure 'Smoke Stack' Review (Stick Figure Music)

Possessing a unique style of music that combines a creative blend of upbeat roots reggae with the reverberating echoes of dub comes Stick Figure.
Their latest effort 'Smoke Stack'- although it's with hesitancy that the word 'their' is used because the album was written, recorded, and produced by Scott Woodruff, a young man from Duxbury, MA. All of Stick Figure's songs are made by recording each instrument separately, layering several tracks on top of one another in unison. In essence, it's safe to say that Scott Wodruff is Stick Figure and Stick Figure is Scott Wodruff.
One thing that is immediately evident on 'Smoke Stack' is the quality of the music. The precise attention to detail is impressive. Without question, Stick Figure has a definite feel for roots reggae. To think that each instrument on each track was played by one individual makes the music all the more impressive. (Yes, you read that correctly!) In fact, it's mind boggling. Dedication.....check. Patience.....check. Passion.....check. Talent....check, no better make that check PLUS.
Stand out tracks include Livin' It, a rootsy, laid-back tale of doing what makes us happy. In this case it's creating sweet reggae music. The progression of the music is solid and catchy,  reminiscent of  'In The Middle' by rockers Jimmy Eat World.  Fallen Down is another stand out. The vibe is up-tempo and the riddim is broken down in several places giving it an edgy, 'live' feel. This is definitely one of the best tracks vocally as well. Longtime is another nice tune set to a classic, lazy, one drop riddim.
Folsom Prison Dub is truly one of the highlights of the album. Johnny Cash was a huge fan of roots reggae and thus would've no doubt been pleased to hear one of his most popular tunes interpreted so beautifully. Simple, yet very satisfying, just as the Man in Black would've liked it.
'Smoke Stack' is an album that, musically speaking, will hold it's own with some of the finest roots reggae out there. The fact that it was created exclusively with live instruments, save for the welcome effects of the heavy dub influence, is impressive in and of itself. As stated, Stick Figure has a tremendous feel for reggae music. The riddims are multi-dimensional and completely original. Vocally, there is definitely room to grow. What is profoundly obvious is Stick Figure's passion for roots reggae music. If they're able to channel that into a more impassioned vocal delivery and enhance their singing with greater emotion than the sky will truly be the limit for Stick Figure. Recommended, especially if you're looking for something fresh and original.


Track Listing:
1. Vibes Alive
2. Hawaii Song
3. Smoke Stack
4. Livin' It
5. Thick and Thin
6. Eazy Dub
7. Alright With Me
8. Break Of Day
9. On 2Nite
10. Fallen Down
11. Longtime
12. Folsom Prison Dub
13. Fight The Feeling
14. Hawaii Song (Acoustic)