“cause all of it matters”

Revolution is just a word 
That loses more each time it’s heard 
Won’t mean a thing until it hurts

I listened to Stavesacre on the way home yesterday, for the first time in ages. Who? you may ask, with confusion skittering across your face. And quite rightly so.

I remember when I first came across Stavesacre (from reading the thanks list of another cd, weirdly). I think I downloaded some tracks from Kazaa (ah, the thrills of internet youth!), and I was well chuffed. And yet, I play it to my friends and general apathy was universal in its forthcoming. I was baffled, but looking back, I understand. It was too thrashy for the nu-metal loving tech-heads (this was 2002, remember); the guitars not precisely Mesa/Boogie, not seven string, although the detuning was present, the vocals too hoarse. At the other end of the spectrum, the band was too heavy for the be-sideburned indie hipsters, in thrall to Gomez, the Beta Band, the last traces of Kula Shaker. And though it’s not immediately obvious, they were too Christian for just about everybody. Influences list Quicksand, Far, Refused, et al – progressive hardcore, I guess you’d say, not too hot at my college.

Stavesacre therefore operated in some sort of anti-fashionable limbo, seeming to alienate as many as they could. Me though, I loved them. Speakeasy and (stāvz’ā’kər) were their defining moments, and yesterday I listened to the former, the decade old Tooth & Nail release. The opening vastness of Minuteman is, to me, the archetype of the band: a crushing, detuned riff, taut guitars, and Mark Saloman’s soaring, operatic vocals. These are what make Stavesacre so unique, these spacious, grandiose wails that remain too beautifully melodic and heart-on-sleeve to slot so easily into a pre-defined genre. 

The band have possibly split up now – it’s not really easy to say whether it’s final or not. In a way it’s no surprise that such a caustically personal band couldn’t stay the course. But they’ve left behind at least two awesome albums (I’m not quite so enamoured of the others), each with some of the best first-track-last-track pairings you’re likely to hear, and these records have carried me through some times in my life. A while ago, mind, but still.

To listen to the track, it’s uploaded on my tumblelog: HERE

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