Consequence of Sound : “[. . .]a fresh take on noise-rock, alive with a newfound intensity and depth that only family members could muster.”
It’s pretty clear at this point that if you’re a two-piece guitar-and-drums combo, you’re going to have to put up with a few immediate comparisons. If your sound is bluesy or classic rock at all, you’re lumped in with the White Stripes and the Black Keys. If you have a punk rhythm and aggressive guitars you’re measured against No Age and Japandroids.
Bloomington Indiana’s Stagnant Pools are clearly more towards the latter camp, but their washed-over, distorted sounds and muttered vocals have led reviewers to bring up names like the Jesus and Mary Chain and Joy Division. These elements have also earned them the label “noise rock,” from many. I must say, when I heard their name and saw the words “noise rock,” I was expecting a deep dark hole of shrieking insanity, not pleasurable punk songs.
Allow me to digress for a moment . . . remember when bands really had to do something to deserve the title “noise rock?” They had to stack walls of amplifiers and scream into a contact microphone affixed to their mouth with a bright pink face mask [Lightning Bolt], or make huge oceans of improvised electronic drone only subtly punctuated by fractured toy piano beats [Fuck Buttons], or decide to pick a band name like AIDS Wolf [AIDS Wolf]. Maybe in a day when slick and meticulously constructed symphonic pop like Dirty Projectors, M83, and Sufjan Stevens is saddled with the often inappropriately general description “indie rock,” all you have to do to be “noise rock” is run your guitar through a fuzz pedal and then through a reverb pedal and then have the resulting sound through your amplifier be a little louder than your vocals.
None of this is anything against Stagnant Pools. They make catchy music with an edge and have an intriguingly shadowy, wooly sound. Plus, they’re brothers who play guitar and drums together, so when you think about it, they’re a lot like JEFF the Brotherhood! Comparisons!