by Hugo Reyes
Every Friday, countless releases are waiting for discovery. It becomes overwhelming. Music listeners are unsure of where to begin. Smaller publications alleviate choice paralysis. Band’s need to find an audience or ears that extend beyond their limited social circles with band announcement posts and track premieres. With Stuck, there was little if any proof of a band’s existence beyond their personal social media pages. As if by serendipity, Stuck’s debut release Three Songs found its way into my ears.
“Era” invites the listener in with a poking and prodding introduction. The guitar sets a tempo that the drums lightly follow. To balance everything out, you have the bass guitar, lean and warm like a matzo ball soup. Within a span of 30 seconds, we have our thesis, short and curt, like a strongly worded letter to the editor.
There is no math equation that each song is beholden to. Each is duplicitous and varied. “Plank” begins with a very bouncy bass line. The guitar slowly weaves its way in between the musical space provided. The EP closer “Wrong Question” leads off with a bass line at a much faster pace. There isn’t a sea of monotony that one can feel listening to bands. Each play-through provides new little musical discoveries. No eight minutes is exactly the same. You choose a different musical piece to focus on. Sometimes, it's the singer’s diction and the way he twists the english language to bend and break to his liking. Other times, you notice the interplay of the guitar and how they push up against each other.
Greg Obis, the lead singer and creator of Stuck, is the lynchpin to many of these songs. There are countless examples of artists who, fairly or unfairly, are judged based upon the singer. Many times I have found myself listening to a new artist and saying to myself: “Hey this is pretty good.” Then the vocals kick in and there is a long drawn out sigh and resignation that results in me pressing skip or looking for another band to listen to.
Obis is able to elevate certain musical passages. There are moments where he is doing his own version of scream singing, matching the composition in unison. Obis is able to compliment a song based on the particular situation. Most notably, in “Wrong Question,” he is able to surprise the listener. As the song is in the bridge, about to transition to the outro verse, it would be just fine if the vocals were the same with no real sudden change. The moment of surprise only exists for a short few seconds but Obis reaches a super high register before quickly returning back to his normal range. It’s in these little five second increments that Stuck stands out.
Stuck’s Three Songs is a jittery 8 minutes of post-punk. Songs feel light and buoyant. There is an economy of movement. Different compositions fit within a tight two to three minute window. Each song showcases a different sonic realm that the listener can exist in.