Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Album Review: Lost Kids by Stick and Poke

Recently I was reliably informed there is more music other than punk rock. Whilst I agreed that this statement is indeed a true fact I also argued that the term punk rock covers a very big spectrum of music. Any people I know think that when I talk about punk music I’m just talking about a group of people playing three chords as fast and as loud as they can and are shouting any old nonsense into a microphone. This simply isn’t true in the slightest. Elements of punk can be found in many genres of music. One musical genre that springs to mind immediately is folk music (and not just because I’m about to review a folk album, honest). They both share similar subject matters, such as politics and life on the road and then there’s the DIY spirit and community that connects the worlds of punk and folk. More and more artists are bridging the two genres and having great success. One folk act that I think is absolutely amazing is Canadian duo Stick and Poke. Last year these two amazingly talented young women released a new album titled Lost Kids. Here’s what I thought of it.

Lost Kids begins with the song Teeth On A String. Beginning with a violin introduction before the signature Stick and Poke sound shines through, Alison Soldnik playing acoustic guitar and Lauren Boyko playing the ukulele with both girls singing and creating beautiful harmonies. Lauren’s ukulele gives all of the songs an upbeat vibe and permanently keeps a smile on your face throughout. Teeth On A String tells the story of a girl who falls for a bad guy and wondering why it all went wrong. The dual vocals are excellent throughout and make you want to sing along. The violin addition towards the middle of the song adds a brilliant extra layer to the overall sound of the song. The opening couple of seconds of Distance instantly reminds me of the classic Against Me! song Reinventing Axl Rose, a band I suspect are a big influence on Stick and Poke. Distance is about someone who you care about who is not around anymore and the feelings of missing the simple things like the sound of their voice or how it feels to hug them. Incredibly relatable song. The third song Poison is played at a higher tempo and has more of a punk feel to it. This brilliant song is about strong bond of friendship that connects Alison and Lauren after all of their adventures together playing shows and travelling around Canada together. Poe is a song with an interesting sound – guitar, ukulele and violin act as a backing sound and let the vocals carry the melody of the track. 

Youth Crew was my immediate favourite song on Lost Kids. I related to the song instantly, it’s about militant straight edge kids who judge and preach at people who don’t follow the same lifestyle as them. As a non drinker one of the first things people ask me is am I straight edge? The answer I always give is no because I really hate being thrown into that group of people. Live the way you want to live, don’t judge or try and change people that choose to live life differently to you. I really loved the verse that goes “Even Though I Live The Same Way, I Won’t Perpetuate Your Stupid Clich├ęs, Did You Forget Why We’re Even All Here? It’s About The Music Not The Fucking Beer.” Tattoo worthy lyrics.

I Don’t Like Love Songs, But I Love You is quite obviously a love song. It’s a sweet little tale about meeting someone who inspires you to be the better version of you. The example given in the song are about finding it easier to write about the things you hate but feeling inspired to write a song about what you love because of a special person. That’s the sort of person you need to keep in your life! The seventh song Time is another higher tempo song and is about the feeling of loneliness in feeling that you don’t belong somewhere. This is another song that screams early Against Me! with passionate vocals over the acoustic guitar. Crooked Rooms is the longest song on the album and has a more sombre feeling to it. It’s again about living in the big city and not really enjoying it. I love the lyrics in the pre-chorus. They go “Cuz This City May Be Big, But The People Here Are Small, And They Often Choose To Waste Their Lives Doing Nothing At All.” Creatures has a feeling of country music to it. Of all the songs on Lost Kids this is probably the only one I’m not a big fan of, it’s definitely not a bad song, just not one for me. The final original Stick and Poke song is called Lost At Sea. This song is another song about friendship and sticking together through thick and thin. The song’s lyrics are very heave on metaphors which really makes you listen deeply to the song and fully understand it’s meaning. This shows a really special song writing ability. Lost Kids finishes properly with two cover songs – Corpse Grinding Women by Harley Poe and Waiter by Heathers. I don’t know the originals whatsoever so I can’t really do a comparison but I can say that I really loved the Stick and Poke versions.

Lost Kids is an album packed with great folk (with a hint of punk) music from two wonderfully talented young women from Canada. I wish them all the luck in the future and hope they can have the successful career they deserve for their talents.

Stream and buy Lost Kids here: https://stickandpoke.bandcamp.com/album/lost-kids

More information on Stick and Poke can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/StickandPoke