Song lyrics are funny things. They can remind us of a specific person, or place, or time in our lives. I remember the first time I heard Jack White utter the words, “Soft hair and a velvet tongue, I wanna give what you give to me…And every breath that is in your lungs is a tiny little gift to me,” I thought I was going to pee my pants. To this day, every time I hear that song, those words transport me to a memory that still puts a pubescent smile on my face.
I got the same feeling when I came across the Stereotypes 2nd release, aptly titled 2. This album cruises along with a rock n’ roll efficiency, and less than 10 minutes into it, I fell upon some of those very lyrics. Sparing no ones feelings, vocalist John Finkbiner clamors “If I drink, you’ll go away. Well, I can dream of another day” on the third track, “I drink.”
Finkbiner’s vocals glide through 2 like a less satirical version of Iggy Pop, with the slightest Mike Ness undertone. Even the slower, sweeter songs like “Dirty Sheets” and “Almost Lost” carry out like minor tragedies, despite the lyrics saying otherwise. Each song ends feeling brilliant and sexed up and better then when it began.
The best track however, is “New Situation”, an explosive opening that quickly tosses up a frame for the rest of 2 to build on. The bass line humps with a perverted pulse as the piano clangs and tears away at the song’s melody. The drum kit sounds loose and sweaty, much like Fimkbiner’s vocals. The Stereotypes prove that 2 is more than just garage rock. They have created a slicked-out, So Cal version of dirty rock; catchy like any given Rapture song, but honest like a Teenage Fan Club out-take.