Album Review: Stove – ‘s’ Favorite Friend’

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Stove started as somewhat as a side project for Ovlov guitarist and songwriter Steve Hartlett, while his other band was on hiatus, but as the project grew it became a full band all its own. Consisting of drummer/vocalist Jordyn Blakely, bassist Alex Molini, and guitarist Mike Hammond, the quartet have now taken on a more developed sound on their latest LP titled “’s Favorite Friend”. With roots of 90’s shoegaze and grunge anchoring Stove’s sound, it makes one think about how these influences are being reinvented and turned into their own.

Stove’s past 3 releases have proved Steve’s talent in songwriting, combing intricate riffs and effects on guitar that carry the songs melody and provide a rough around the edges feel. However, Steve still doesn’t let the guitar drown the sounds of supporting instrumentals such as bass and drums. He allows them to blend in a way that lets each sing their own song. That is just one of the things that Stove does so well. Creating seemingly effortless ties of grunge-goodness in their songs and is amplified on “’s Favorite Friend” Stove carries through an investigation in heartbreak and depression whilst defining a sophisticated sound.

The opening track, “Safe Guy” brings a hint of a Beach-Boys style riff, something super catchy and makes you sway back and forth to it. Steve’s vocal delivery on the track elicits a borderline whiney quality. “You make me feel fine…But I’m a safe guy…” are the lyrics that almost make you feel pity. Although the guitar towards the latter half of this track shred and come off a bit more aggressive. It’s a cool feeling opener that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Destructive tracks with a sad undertone with the lyrics.

Sprinkles of what I believe to be a synthesizer in the second track “Nightwalk” create a nice contrast between the heavier bass line in and the softer vocal delivery harmonized between Steve and Jordyn. Jordyn’s pillow-y like vocals aide to drive the heart-break tone that “’s Favorite Friend” brings forward throughout the record. The record offers the same 90’s influence but changed to be have this really nice dynamic between the disheartening lyrics and tough conversations between instruments. It has a casual yet highly emotional quality to them, like small confessions.

Jordyn also takes the vocal lead on the track “Ducking Fantasy” that elicits the sounds of contemporaries such as Gabby’s World and Japanese Breakfast. Although the vocal qualities are more align to a softer delivery, the backing instrumentals and vocals make the track sound punkier. Creating again a unique contrast between vocal content and instrumental content

“’s Favorite Friend” is an energetic landslide in Stove’s discography. It’s balance between chaotic riffs and depressing vocals gets rendered into a sensational collective of a record. Showcasing the wholesome talents that the members of Stove have to offer along with pushing the boundaries of what the feelings of sadness and heartbreak can sound like.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Sarah Knoll

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