Worth every sand dollar: Stereolithic album review

311 drops first indie album

By ERIC CULVER
On March 25, 2014

Album: Stereolithic

Artist: 311

Label: 311 Records

Release Date: March 11

Grade: A-

Back in 1988 when 311 formed, the band managed to blend alternative, reggae, ska, rap and hard rock into a cohesive, unique genre. For the first time in over two decades, the band has released an indie album: Stereolithic.

The album debuted on "311 Day," an unofficial holiday the band created on March 11, 2000.

Stereolithic, which includes 15 tracks, starts strong with a radiant and pungent kick - it has a beachy tune that's reminiscent of the band's previous albums. It gives the listener a chance to delve back into the 311 they know, with an updated twist.

Listeners are hit hard with the first track, "Ebb and Flow." After a long two seconds of silence, fans are taken back by a heavy lead from an electric guitar and drum player.The first four tracks make listeners think this album, as a whole, is geared toward a grunge or a punk sound.

But "Sand Dollars," the fifth track, provides a new sound that none of the other songs on Stereolithic has to offer. Songwriter and lead singer Nick Hexum was really able to lay down some beautiful and concrete lyrics in "Sand Dollars," including: "I'm still singing the same tune / I've been kicking around since June / All morning and afternoon / Now it's all a blur."

The track itself seems somewhat connected to one of the band's older but popular song "Amber" - which is from its 2001 album From Chaos. Overall, "Sand Dollars" is a calm and soothing track, especially for listeners who enjoy getting lost in the music.

If you're a music lover looking for surprises, then "Friday Afternoon" is a better choice. The song starts off slow - so slow that it could put listeners to sleep. As the track goes on, the tempo and singing build. By the end of the track, there's a hard guitar shred that's bound to wow listeners.

"Friday Afternoon," the ninth track, leaves listeners eager to hear the rest of the album, which maintains a consistent sound until the last track, "Tranquility." The song gives listeners a gravitating feeling; Hexum's voice fades in and out throughout the song, which creates an almost lullaby-like quality. This is possibly the best way to end the album, leaving listeners tranquil, relaxed and peaceful for the exit.

Stereolithic, the band's 11th album,will leave fans excited to see 311 back in the music scene.

 

email: arts@ubspectrum.com


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