Hi 89 / Lo 76
|Volume 68, Issue 155,
Wednesday, July 9, 2003
Arts & Entertainment
Seven-year wait good for Stage
By Zach Lee
High school students all over America pick up musical instruments and form groups of three or four that they call bands. The vast majority of these get swept away with similar memories of wild adolescence, and some are even matched up with one or two memorable live performances.
Stage started out just like that. Vocalist/ guitarist Ryan Stahr, bassist Petr Anselmo and guitarist Greg Meyer started out rehearsing cover songs for a New York City high school talent show. They began writing their own songs and by the time they were 15, they were playing shows at CBGB's. Soon after, drummer Justin Parker signed on, and after releasing an independent debut album, they opened shows for both Bon Jovi and Kiss.
Seven years later, they have released their new self-titled CD on Maverick Records. Their recording sessions were riddled with tragedy. A week after bringing the band back to New York to record, the events of 9/11 shook the city and the world. Soon after, Dorothy Anselmo and Lois Meyer, mothers of Petr and Greg, passed away. The band pushed through the tragedies and dedicated the album to the two women.
Stahr's versatile voice is the first thing to intrigue the listener's ear. His lyrics, however are a bit trite and confusing.
"Rubber bands are holding me together/ I need the perfect smile for my mother/ Look, we've done away with our disease/ When I'm dead you'll know me by my teeth," Stahr sings in "Perfect."
While lyrics that make little sense at first glance are a time-honored tradition in rock 'n' roll, it's obvious from the emotions his songs hint at that the words are too vague to have any real meaning to most listeners.
The rest of the band isn't bad, but nothing really stands out as amazing. The songs range from hard-hitting anthems to "The Scientist's Canvas," a slow, mournful 11 minutes and 32 seconds.
The seven-year wait is evident on the album as the band works as a single unit to bring its own emotional version of rock to the masses. The CD is very radio friendly, and fans of Bush, Nickelback or Pearl Jam should definitely check it out.
The Verdict: It's a good rock album — nothing more, nothing less.
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