Under Review

Under Review: Stuck In The Muck, stuttr

Todd McCluskie

The first song from stuttr’s recently released four song EP, Stuck In The Muck, hits me like a weighty snow shovel in the back of the head — and my ears are still ringing. This initial track, titled “Medicate,” features a thumpy drum kit, crispy bass line, sporadic guitar screeches and flat-lining mumbled vocals with lyrics such as “I’ve got no songs medicate me / I’ve got no sorrow medicate me / I’ve got no loved ones medicate me I’ve lost my fun so medicate me.” Kind of reminds me of Los Angeles hardcore masters OFF! The lo-fi dirty production fits well, any more clarity would detract from the grit. A jazzy tempo change at the three quarter mark adds some depth and helps cement and solidify the opener. Then we ramp up for one more go around and close “Medicate” in a juiced-up altered state — which is what I would fully expect from a band that is labelling itself as “a four piece experimental post-punk ice cream sandwich with subtle notes of broken glass and hardcore.”

So then, track two: “2 B Tangoed.” A guitar part reminiscent of Dead Kennedy’s fare circa 1980s, straight edged energy and no nonsense punk rock — “I’m trapped in my bed again I don’t exist till 11am” — all coming in at a short and sweet 2:44. stuttr, stuttr… 

“Nebraska” comes in at 5:24, easily the longest track and quite likely the most enticing. A Punk-O-Drama intro as the rhythm section kicks in, contrasted by sparkly clean guitar and muddy vocals, “Murder, murder Bloody fucking murder That’s what you shriek / Your walls closed in.” Dark, brooding, rhythmic, throbbing, death scream, chaos, nonsensical, retreat, energy, out of control sabotage, brought back down and back home.

The closer is “Bob Mentality” and it slides in well with the preceding 3 tracks. An audio bombardment of sorts, crazed at times and a bit of a noisy mess. “I’m a professional default And so is my good friend bob / Vancouver idolizes his ways / Corn on the fucking snobs” (I like the Van City references that stuttr employs, it’s a good look for these locals). I enjoy the heavy last minute of the track as it taints my impression of stuttr — thick sloppy hardcore, syrupy rich in desperation, sprinkled with fermented slices of far out experimental fidelity.

Stuck In The Muck by stuttr is a worthy second effort by the band. I would be interested to see how this setlist translates in a live environment, I would imagine quite well. The hardcore aspect of their material offers a rough appeal, but it’s their experimental meanderings that set them somewhat apart from others drifting in the same genre. I would hope they continue to explore these more alternative sounds on future recordings. I don’t believe we’ve heard the best from this group and I look forward to future releases as they continue to define their signature stuttr sound.