Sometimes one can pigeonhole artists or bands into tight little genre- or subgenre-specific boxes in order to describe their particular sound. Other times, though, the most accurate portrayal of a band’s sound is describing how it feels. In the case of the genre-blending Vancouver band The Stone Pines and their newest release, Landmark, it’s all about ‘The Feel’.
Though one could roughly call The Stone Pines a rock band, it wouldn’t really scratch the surface of what this quintet actually does. Singer Josh Larsson and guitarists Ryan Krumins and Corey Fenton create a brand of sound that seamlessly stretches into the realms of blues, funk, and reggae and bears soul that provides much of that feel to Landmark. Longtime musical collaborators, Larsson, Krumins and Fenton are joined by bassist Clark Buchanan and drummer “Slick” Tim Watson with the result being a tight, cohesive, and fluid group with top notch musicianship and a dynamic and engaging sound that can take you through the gamut of emotions.
Larsson’s commanding vocals take the lead throughout the eight-song effort and provide much of the emotion and intensity prevalent on the album. Recorded and produced by Eric Mosher (Franz Ferdinand, AC/DC) live off the floor at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver, Landmark’s opener, “Murder’s Row” shows off the band’s terrific dynamics, jumping from its blues rock beginnings to a laid-back reggae groove chorus and back, while Larsson’s powerful and earnest delivery brings the intensity up and down. On tracks like “Wild Child Style”, Larsson’s delivery is perfectly complemented by the band’s knack for knowing how and when to kick it up a notch and when to bring it down to a low simmer. On the soulful “Stone Colored Grey”, one of the album’s standouts, Larsson delivers ominous warnings about trouble coming his way as the band knocks out a darkly funky jam, while on the rocking “Rollin’ Train”, Larsson confidently declares he’s not going to ‘waste one night’ on his troubles as the band bashes out a stomping, fist-pounding groove. On the album’s closer, “Close Your Eyes”, distant, haunting slide guitar underlays a funky, reggae-infused groove as Larsson’s vocals plaintively soar above, dripping with that “Feel”.
Named after a good friend of the band, Landmark is an album that invites you to experience the feelings of life’s highs and lows and the struggles and triumphs that come. Boasting considerable skill as musicians and songwriters, The Stone Pines’ soul lies in the way they can easily communicate the ‘Feel’ with which everyone can identify and relate.
Check out The Stone Pines and listen to Landmark on Bandcamp, Facebook, and on their official website. The band is also hitting the road in August and will be playing at Broken City in Calgary on August 16th. Known for putting on an energetic and engaging live performance, this is one show to not be missed.