Sleeve notes to the Stalkers are like Darwin to the Deep South. The detail is irrelevant. The Brooklyn-based band play live. At high volume. With great passion. Often drunk – but always with tunes, and always with the energy of a herd of adrenaline dosed elephants. To call then a live band is a criminal underestimation.
At Reading Festival, the night before their opening slot, they literally lived on stage, under blankets, hugging kegs of beer. In short, theirs is a bloodstained, authentic, classic New York punk rock formula. And that, my twitching, archivist friend, is it. We can end any rational attempts at analysis right now.
With such balls-out simplicity comes the obvious comparisons. Yes it does bring to mind the Ramones, with the beautifully incomprehensible vocals. Yet it also has a familiar jangle as unmistakably English as Grandma’s bone china teacup. So are they the New York Libertines? The arcadia Ramones? Who knows? Least of all them.
There are lots of things in here. If you had a thousand musicologists pressed against the speakers, grasping beeping gadgetry, they would probably detect a uniform, linear connection between each and every song. Mathematically plotted to fifteen decimal places. Cross examined using complex quantum mechanics.
The conclusion being that The Stalkers appear, to the best of our knowledge, to be having a rather good time. This overriding opinion is present from the opening riff of Yesterday to the dying squeal of feedback on Out In The Rain. The thing that sets them apart – the important thing – is the fact that so do the people who listen to them.
To put this in no uncertain terms, this is not Andrew WK (a bundling oaf from the turn of the century, who you might remember but can’t explain). The spirit will inspire rather than evoke pity. At the same time a shimmering disc or downloaded data, nestling on an MP3 player is only as good as a staggering shadow of The Stalkers live show – even if you get your best friend to spit beer in your face or throw you out of the bathroom window. The result is only ever going to be half as thrilling. And twice as painful
It’s an album to remind you exactly why it is entirely necessary to spend half your life in sweat box venue. The other half recovering. Some might even call it life affirming.