REVIEW: Grown Up Avenger Stuff – ‘Sparkleton’

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Artist: Grown Up Avenger Stuff
Album: Sparkleton
Genre: Rock, Punk, Alternative
For fans of: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Distillers, No Doubt

Charlotte, North Carolina’s Grown Up Avenger Stuff is an alternative punk quartet whose sound is more focused and aware than the ostensively juvenile first impression of their sobriquet may imply. With influences ranging sporadically from The Beatles to Rage Against The Machine, the band’s newest effort, Sparkleton, is as diverse and interesting as that inspirational span would lead you to believe.

The album opens mildly with a slow, rhythmic bass line in “Some Of Us” and is soon accompanied by Deirdre Kroener’s gratifying vocals then quickly emerges into a punk-like chorus reminiscent of Tragic Kingdom-era No Doubt. “Some Of Us” is one of the most solid tracks on Sparkleton and sets a great foundation for the album as it builds layer by layer with intensity.

The opener is followed by the title track which is equally strong, and lyrics like, “spread the love through everything,” boast a wholesome passion in Sparkleton that makes you feel warm and welcomed while listening, but while these wise words may seem to set a serious tone, GUAS actually appear to have a more lighthearted persona as a band. Not so much tongue-in-cheek as it is carefree and fun and this makes Sparkleton all the more appealing.

The third track, “The Beat,” is a difficult one to pin down. The first half feels lost in Sparkleton. It opens like a funky hip-hop effort and picks up punk traction along the way but the lyrics are sub-par, although Kroener’s flow is somewhat impressive in handling them. The second half of the song could be mistaken for an entirely different track as it’s poignant and mellow and feels rewarding after sifting through the first two minutes of the song. Even as the first section of “The Beat” can initially feel like a Frankenstein limb sewn onto the body of Sparkleton, it’s easy to appreciate the group branching out beyond their comfort zone.

The album gets right back on track with “Pins” and “The Man,” the latter of which is the most intense offering on the effort with a Distillers vibe. With no Distillers since 2003′s Coral Fang, this is completely welcomed, and this trend continues in the final section of the sixth track, “Too Cool,” with a rapid fire, angsty pummeling of sound.

Grown Up Avenger Stuff wrap Sparkleton up with “Do Ya,” the album’s shortest offering which just so happens to possibly be the most diverse, spanning a range of genres in a brief period of time and actually pulling it off. It’s unfortunate that this particular track is so short as it has potential to be one of Sparkleton‘s most promising contributions. However, it’s a solid ending to the album, albeit and abrupt one.

Sparkleton feels fast, as it should in its respective genre and at only 7 tracks it’s to be expected even more so. Not only fast in its length but in its delivery. Its creators’ personalities seem evident in the sound, making the album feel more relatable and entertaining. I imagine a GUAS house show being the best kind of chaotic fun, and apart from that, I look forward to seeing where these four end up because they show real promise and they appear to know what their aim is.

SCORE: 8/10

Review written by: Brian Lion – Follow him on Twitter


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