Hailing from Southsea in Hampshire, the Stayawakes deliver an energetic, indie-punk sound twinned with infectious pop melodies and an overall hook that’s pretty hard to dislike. On ‘Dogs and Cats / Living Together’, the band’s debut record, there’s a sentimental, feel-good factor that’s evident on almost every track. Right from opening track ‘Slumber’, there’s a clear sense of familiarity from the tracks on offer.
For most bands, it could be argued that creating a record that sounds like others that came before them isn’t entirely an achievement. Yet, what works well for the Stayawakes, is the harnessing of an accomplished sound that’s disappeared from the indie-rock scene over the last 15 years or so. In this light, the record serves as a sort of flashback to the type of beloved music of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. It feels like a soundtrack to adolescence that isn’t overly brash, bullish or aggressive. Instead, ‘Dogs and Cats / Living Together’ carries a light-weight, stylistically soft touch, whilst still retaining an indie-punk sound.
Tracks like ‘Jake’, ‘Little Explorer’ and recent single ‘Inevitable Truth’ show off the band’s best qualities, all spiked with grooves and hooks, from swaying guitar leads to shifting keyboard swirls beneath the main mix of the tracks’ jumpy beats. There’s a focus on instrumentation here, with abrasive crashing cymbals and open hi-hats blushing beneath dynamic leads. While throwing plenty of guitar solos into the mix heightens the nostalgic vibe.
On first listen its the album’s good-nature that shines through. But beneath the tonality, there’s a concentration on growing up and reflection of the past that adds an extra dimension to the weight of the record. It’s personal, easy to relate to and all wrapped up in a neat brightly coloured package. With this release, there is a sense that the Stayawakes have managed to recreate a sound that has long been untouched.
‘Dogs and Cats / Living Together’ by the Stayawakes is to be released on 11th June on Surefire Discs, badHORROR Recordings and ShoveItUpYourCult Records.
Words by Dylan Tuck (@DylanJTuck)