The fervor of Stereo Alligator is something that any true music fan is constantly searching for, a sound with mettle, with energy and with moxie. You need to be on some serious stuff to be able to keep up with the blistering trampoline wonderment of “Blow Away,” a song that would make Billy Idol proud and envious simultaneously. I was on Methadone, Vitamin B and two 24-ounce cans of Budweiser when I first heard it and I felt like a spider monkey in the middle of the Night of Pan.
This is the kind of banger that has the potential to be a universal groove-maker like the Red Hot Chili Peppers used to do—get everyone jumping up and down and flailing like a bunch of whirling dervishes on meth, whether the person is a Raver, a Scene Kid or a firm Hip-Hopper.
Some would define it as a crossover song, but that sounds like it's mixing genres to make everyone happy or something. That is not what Stereo Alligator are up to. They're simply making their kind of music and manufacturing it with such passion that the razzmatazz can be felt by one and all.
The theme is on the humanity tip, with singer Miguel Gomes imploring the invisible Omnipotent to wake him up (no doubt from a dose of understandable escapism) to let him know that he's not the only one. The only what? I don't know. Maybe the only cat who sees how flagrant the status quo is? How the Bernie Madoffs and Eliot Spitzers of the World are leaving a devastated and denigrated society shit thick in financial and moral bankruptcy? Or maybe Gomes is asking to be told that he is not the Holy One, which would make even more sense given the trituration of the modern landscape around that society.
The message or the question, more appropriately, is presented in a straight forward and simplistic way that enables every human being with ears and emotions and any level of intellect to receive, process and ponder it for themselves. This is the kind of unpretentious, all-inclusive Universalist musical poetry that the mainstream is lacking and would benefit from.
“Ruin” comes on like a pristine Tears for Fears call-back, seeping with White Town phantasmagoria and epic vocal modulation. Dust Bowl guitar language carries the envelope along as gently and subtly as a tumbleweed rolling down a desolate autobahn and underscores the chorus of “C'mon, take me away.” This is an antagonistic outcry for Transcendence, the better to drive home the concept of a day and age so dense in a sinkhole of irredeemable follies that the only real solution is dissolution.
It doesn't slow, it doesn't let up, and nobody with any CHUTZPAH would want it to. A set this consistently electric and dauntless shouldn't be curtailed by any switching of unnecessary gears.
The EP closer “Lifting Up” carries the New Wave sound a step further until, in its abrupt denouement, Gomes' impassioned voice reaches a volume of such blood-vessel-popping velocity that the song's precipitous end leaves you feeling like something, maybe even your own concern, has slugged you in the center of your torso. This is music that leaves a bruise.