Don't Kill The Magic
Isolate and Medicate
After three records Stroke 9 dismissed the thought of recording new material for re-recording acoustic version of a number of fan favorites from their previous albums. Recorded in just one day, the band wanted the album to have a very live feel so they sat down in the same room, set up some mics and played each song three times, picking the best of the three takes for the CD. The result gives a very spontaneous sound to some very well written heartfelt songs, which creates a nice mix. On some songs that acoustic style holds up better than others, but overall Stroke 9 did a nice job carrying the essence of what made many of these songs great on previous albums. The opening track ‘Washing & Wondering’ is one of the more impressive tracks that create a whole new feel in its acoustic version. Also nicely done is ‘Letters’, another ‘Nasty Little Thoughts’ re-write that adds a new element acoustically recorded. The only new track on the CD is ‘Next Time’, and with it’s bitter lyrics it finds Stroke 9 in an all too familiar heartbroken place. Not every track gains a sonic edge in its acoustic version, as ‘Vacuum Bag’ just seems to lose some of the intensity in its acoustic rendition. Regardless of how this song is played, it’s still an emotionally moving song, but the stripped down chorus just seems to lose some of the passion that the original had. The album closes with a nice re-record of ‘California’ the closing track from ‘Rip It Off’. Café Cuts is a great album for any die-hard Stroke 9 fan, but listening to where this band has been over the last three albums, albeit acoustically, one can’t help but wonder what they have in store for us next.