Sporty straight-edgey stuff with two vocalists yelling in sort-of harmony. My wife hates this shit. Some days I do, too, but, for the most part, I’m okay with this record since I haven’t been drinking much of late and I can finally understand the need for all the yelling in straight edge music: yelling till yer face turns purple takes away the desire for a drink. Still, the Stakes’ focus seems to be kind of like a former smoker policing his friends’ smoking. And I’m pretty much done with titles like “Benchwarmers” and “Victory” and lyrics such as “wake up/stand hard.” Pfft. In the end, this is a lot more like drinking a creatine milkshake of music than rocking out in any significant way; but there are times when such puffery and power are welcome.
–Eric Carlson (High Fidelity)