Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers’ self- titled album is an assembly of seven new songs as well as four remakes from previously released albums “Lucky 11” and “Bulletproof Heart.”
Because they are playing shows in Rochester on Oct. 5 at Record Exchange and at Milestones, I was curious and excited to hear the remake of the previously tolerable, “emo-ish with a country twinge” original tracks. I had mistakenly jumped to a conclusion of what to expect. I expected an innovative and edgier sound that would satisfy my current music craving.
Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers claim the album as belonging to the rock genre, yet I found they do anything but rock out. Upon listening to the first track, “Flower in Rain,” I already had a lick of the album’s static flavor. Kellogg’s vocals are typical, carrying the timbre and emotional desperation similar to the music of Three Doors Down, Lifehouse and other such bands that are easily mistaken for one another.
The fifth track in particular, “Blue Jean,” had me wondering how the album could be considered in the genre of rock. Country-style vibes emanate from the hokey sounding guitar riffs and from the vocal trills that are trademarked almost solely by country music.
Taking the self-titled album as a whole, it would be a stretch to think it rock, regardless of the flexible boundaries the term “rock” sets. Perhaps to a person with a more tolerant ear to country, this album could teeter on the edge of folksy pop. “Rock” would be a more plausible description if the frequent yet sporadic harmonizations with the main melody that create an unmistakable country style were nonexistent.
One particular aspect of this album that annoys me is the lyrical content. Every track is a “woe is me” heartbreak love song, or spews on and on about a girlfriend, potential lover or some other “girl without a boy”- Vegas – issue. I’m not so coldhearted that I don’t swoon over a heartfelt love ballad and I’m as sensitive as the next girl to a guitar-laden guy serenading with a tearjerker, but listening to this album felt like I was listening to that whipped friend who never stops talking about his girlfriend.
It’s not fair to entirely discredit this album – if country pop rock is your taste, you might enjoy these soft emotional ballads that seem to coalesce into one long indistinguishable song.
The last track, “Keep me in Your Thoughts,” is especially reminiscent of the first track, and had me wondering if the CD was on repeat. So keep this in your thoughts – if you’re looking for an inspirational, musically induced feel-good buzz, “Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers” probably won’t get the job done.
Putterman can be reached at email@example.com.