Life Imitating Life
The new Stroke 9 album, ďThe Last of the International PlayboysĒ is one of the bandís best releases. Itís actually second only to their Universal debut ďNasty Little Thoughts.Ē Itís everything you expect from these guys after they have put out so many quality releases. Itís witty, itís humorous, itís energetic, itís catchy, but mostly itís just really good. One of the things thatís always stifled and bothered the Stroke 9 faithful is why these guys arenít used repeatedly in the same category as the late 90ís/early 2000ís powerhouse bands Matchbox 20 and 3rd Eye Blind. Their music is just as good as those bands, except they didnít go on to change their name to Stroke Nine. On ďThe Last of the International PlayboysĒ Eric Stock, John McDermott, and Luke Esterkyn are in their usual outstanding form. Lukeís voice is why these guys have stayed around for so long and have kept the fan-base that they have. Itís unique in itís light rasp. Somehow Lukeís voice is more relatable than any lead singer from his generation. A special note should also be made for bassist Jens Funke. Although heís been in the band for awhile now, this is the first studio album heís really gotten a chance to contribute to. Jens was a big part of the creative process this time around and his input has breathed new life into Stroke 9. Thereís not a bad track on this album, but there are some standouts. ďThe OneĒ is definitely a highlight because itís catchy as hell. ďSo GoodĒ is another standout track because it has that tongue in cheek Stroke 9 humor to it and the claps mixed in with the instrumentation makes it sound different than your usual Stroke 9 track. The other key standout track on this album is ďLast of the International PlayboysĒ, not only because it has one of my favorite first lines in a song ever, but because itís light with lots of sound to it that can be likened to some classic Stroke 9 songs like ďVacuum Bag.Ē Stroke 9ís new album is definitely one to pick up. Itís their best album in a long time, not only fitting for a band of this caliber, but fitting for one of the most underrated bands of all time.