Review || Stick To Your Guns - "Spectre"


Stick To Your Guns returns with their highly anticipated seventh album, titled "Spectre". It comes five years after "True View", which for me was uncontested AOTY, and as one would expect, I was very curious to see if the OC outfit could top or even exceed it. 

If I'm being honest I chose to avoid listening to the singles when they were released, as I wanted to fully concentrate on the compositions as connected entities within the canvas that is the album -and it worked. Opener "Weapon" hit me with its dynamic nature and huge singalong, which is still stuck in my head. The songs advance almost seamlessly, despite being so inherently different in spirit. Stick To Your Guns seem to have found the golden balance between big catchy hooks and maintaining an undisputable identity in everything they do. And while other bands seem to just settle in a sound that they replicate, STYG can take pride in creating incredibly versatile songs without repeating the same mannerisms, which I find astounding; no song, no matter how melodic or hard-hitting it may be, falls into repetitive/cookie-cutter patτerns. Part of reinventing aspects of their sound translates beautifully in adapting particles of artists who inspire them ("Open Up My Head" for instance gives me Turnstile/Citizen-esque vibes), interpret them in their own way, and then incorporate them into their sound. 

Furthermore, when STYG decide to play with melodies, they fucking go to town. Whether big and anthemic, or toned down, the band is an expert in conveying strong emotions. This album is no exception. And while STYG flies the flag for big chants and revolutionary choruses, the magic lies elsewhere. On "Spectre" they continue the tradition that if I'm not mistaken started with "Disobedient", where they introduce more intimate compositions, usually sung with clean vocals in their entirety. The way this works is, the listeners are pummeled by the ferocity of the previous songs until they're tender so when the softer parts kick in, they hit straight in the feels. "No Way To Live" is one of the best acoustic songs STYG has ever written and Jesse Barnett seems to momentarily detach his actual singing voice from the timbre of Trade Wind.

Now, if you know me you know that the older material (especially "Diamond") will always hold a very dear place in my heart, so when I hear elements that are channeling the intensity of that era, it brings an involuntary smile on my lips. That's why songs like "Hush", "A World To Win" (which is an absolute personal favorite)", "Liberate" and "More Of Us Than Them" have been living in my head rent-free since the first spin. 

Overall, "Spectre" did the trick. It's one of the finer Stick To Your Guns releases; the songs are meant to make people think, come together under unity, start riots. STYG are at their prime and grew into their revered status by not betraying their values. Their message remains the same after all these years, maybe more raw, maybe angrier, but always the same at its core: there's more of us than them..


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