Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Review: Mark Stoermer - Another Life

 Brandon Flowers, on more than one occasion has been thought of as being a modern day egocentric frontman. Perhaps there's some truth in this. His previously displayed sense of superiority as frontman of The Killers in the band on on the whole of the modern alternative rock scene has been enough for many to ask "Who the fuck does he think he is?". So if you're put off by the idea of listening to his overblown synth-pop solo album Flamingo but would like to hear more material from members of The Killers as their supposed hiatus seems only to be increasing in spite of reports stating it was soon to come to an end, you may be interested to know that bassist Mark Stoermer is starting has self-released his own solo debut, Another Life, which is a much more enjoyable experience.

 Because, alongside the three other members of The Killers, Stoermer has spent most of his musical career under the shadow of Brandon Flowers, many will know little of his vocal styles or musical influences and interests, so will be surprised to see that Another Life features a greater blues influence even a touch of folk music as well. His style really serves as a throwback to modern influential American songwriters, like Billy Joel, Tom Waits as well as having a reminiscent feel to the slower works of The Rolling Stones.
 His style is gentle, led mostly by acoustics and his songs are effective in conveying sense of warmth and emotion, best seen in the likes of Shadow In a Dream, which creates something of an unsettling atmosphere throughout, but is pleasant sounding enough to keep listeners drawn in. Tracks like Everyone Loves the Girl and No Time is a clear sign that Stoermer likes nothing more than to just kick back and make everyone happy, judging by the relaxed feel good nature these songs provide.
 For people looking to hear something closer to The Killers sound, Stoermer also has something to offer in the form of The Way We Were Before. It's closer to The Killers, albeit it's more like something that would be heard on 2008's synth heavy Day and Age, which is hardly the groups strongest album. However, Stoermer's soft vocals fit in well with the sound, helping to elevate the blissful nature of the song.
 If there's any problem to be found, it's that frankly a lot of these songs on Another Life are too short. They're enjoyable, but listeners are still as likely to get the same amount of enjoyment if the songs were at least a minute longer, listening to it I often thought I was getting to a track;s bridge only to have it end at that moment. In that sense the album is somewhat disappointing.
 However, many will be pleased wit this fresh sounding debut from someone who few people would recognize on the street despite playing in a band who have become a household name. His folkier and more tranquil, yet atmospheric material is sure to astonish many and shows a long-searched for sense of skill and modesty from someone from what could be the biggest rock band going right now.

 Mark Stoermer's Another Life is out now and available for free download on markstoermer.com.

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