Review:: Small Town Favorites | Stages & Stereos

If your autumn feels like it’s lacking in the pop-punk department, have no fear: the fifth studio release from Tallahassee’s Stages and Stereos will gladly fill that void.

Typically when a concert-goer is unfamiliar with an opener’s music, their newest release is the first one they’ll turn to in order to ease their curiosity. As the opener for Mayday Parade, Man Overboard, and Cartel on the Glamour Kills Tour this year, it was important for the band to bring their A-game with their Small Town Favorites EP. And if this record is any indicator, kids are going to be showing up to the venues early.

Daniel Lancaster boasts an impressive vocal range over the course of the album’s five songs, reaching trademark pop-punk highs, smooth lows, and a sounds reminiscent of The Killers’ Brandon Flowers (check the intro to “Coup de Grace).

Lead-off track “Cool to Be Vain” starts the EP off on solid footing, with additional compliments to Ian Edge and a thumping introductory bassline. The upbeat “Even Tides” dances its way in behind “Cool to Be Vain,” further flexing the group’s muscles when they slow the tempo down [briefly] for the first time on the record.

While the first three-fifths of the album are enjoyable, the concluding two songs are the gems on Small Town Favorites. “1990” is a tempo-shifting singalong, complete with an infectious chorus, stomping drumwork from Donnie Webb, and a quick guitar solo courtesy of Zach Schweizer, that drive through the song’s midway point.

The self-titled closing track gives Lancaster one last outlet to show his skill, complimented greatly by the group’s back “whoa-oh-ohs” behind him. The feeling of growing up and living in a small town is summed up in the simple chorus – “To hell with it, to hell with it, I’m aware of everything that I’ve done. I’m not done.”

Small Town Favorites does what a good pop-punk album should do – it gives its listeners something to sing to, and more importantly, something to relate to. The songs here are lined with emotion, and make no effort to hide it away. The GK Tour has a reputation of taking some huge acts across the country while creating others, and if this album is what Stages and Stereos can do, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot more of them down the road.

Release Date: September 24th, 2013
Rating: 3.25/5
Runtime: 17:48

1. “Cool to be Vain”
2. “Even Tides”
3. “Coup de Grace”
4. “1990”
5. “Small Town Favorites”

Stages and Stereos is:
Ian Edge – Bass
Daniel Lancaster – Vocals
Zach Schweizer – Guitar
Donnie Webb – Drums

Written By: Eric Riley