We’re navigating through some rough times. I say that as a person with not a ton to worry about beyond the day-to-day, so I only can imagine what others less fortunate or a part of groups that push beyond the perceived norm must have to face. The political and societal climate here in America is a sandstorm (don’t read the comments section anywhere), and it’s getting worse and worse with every passing week.
How one stands up to face the tumult is a sign of one’s strength and character, and “The Long Lost Art of Getting Lost,” the third record from A Stick and a Stone, tackles some of that territory. While many bands confront these forces with equal amounts of chaos and destruction as what’s pushed upon them, this band does the opposite. Immersing yourself in these seven songs could help you branch beyond, at least psychologically, and find the tools to overcome. The band—bassist/vocalist Elliott Harvey and viola player Myles Donovan (also of Disemballerina, Negative Queen, Ominous Cloud Ensemble)—use ambiance, doom, goth-rich melodies, and even some sludgy power to create these songs. Harvey, a transgender male, has a voice that confounds and arrests. The press materials describe his singing as “androgynous,” and that’s certainly accurate, but it’s also haunting, arresting, and perfectly suited for this moving material that can grasp the heart and soul. Finding true comparisons for this band’s sound is nearly impossible, but think an amalgamation of various elements from SubRosa, Chelsea Wolfe, Kate Bush, Amber Asylum, and My Brightest Diamond’s edgier moments, and you at least have a starting point.
“Erosion” starts with rubbery bass work and vocals swimming over the mire, as the track opens and starts bleeding. The strings swell as the chorus bustles, as the track truly comes to life. The singing is rich and emotive, the melodies slip into liquid, and everything fades away. “Arrow” has a gentle introduction, letting fog rise, as the track chills the blood, and the doom hammers drop slowly. The track floats into the darkness, eventually rupturing with added force and the drums bursting. The back end of the song has a soaking, rainy feel, as the song eerily slips away. “Prescription” lets bass slide in, as Harvey begs for a doctor to create a unique concoction, calling, “I’ve been waiting so long.” The rhythm pops as the strings add glaze, leading Harvey to strike, “Cut your hair and feed it to your demons, so you can’t hear them shout anymore.” The song is visceral and rattling.
“Spider Bite” has a solemn start, with Harvey observing, “You built a highway through the mountain of your body.” Strings scrape, as the darkness re-emerges and envelopes, with strong singing weaving the tale, and the cut coming to an echo-flooded finish. “Hawk” has strings being plucked and drums being tapped in calculated manner, as Harvey’s singing again drives the cause, and the emotional glaze leaves a bloody oil slick behind. “Why have you gone?” Harvey wonders, as the tempo is pulled back a bit before being released and swallowing everything whole. “Willow” serves a sinister riff, as the vocals bellow and strings moan. “We tried to warn you, don’t build your forts on top of graves,” slithers darkly from Harvey’s mouth, serving as a warning to the times that often has gone ignored. The rhythmic tap out is trance inducing, but also a sobering message to the past, present, and future. Closer “Return” has a dark bassline that bubbles like tar, as the singing quakes, and strings swarm. The song is enough to lull you into hypnosis, as Harvey calls, “And our eyes return to the sun,” as the sounds blend, mystical strings slip into the shades, and the track escapes into the distance.
A Stick and a Stone remain one of the most unusual, yet musically rewarding bands floating at the outer edges of metal’s ever-changing sea, and “The Long Lost Art of Getting Lost” is a record that you won’t soon forget. The music is moving and gripping, while the songs build emotion and, hopefully, psychological strength to help face whatever bullshit spews out of our world at any given moment. This isn’t the heaviest record you’ll hear this year from a decibel standpoint, but it might be on a psychological level.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/A-Stick-and-a-Stone-162036303838692/
To buy the album, go here: http://sentientruin.com/releases/a-stick-and-a-stone-the-long-lost-art-of-getting-lost
For more on the label, go here: http://sentientruin.com/