Review: Stampeter - "Too Many Boys"

Stampeter - Too Many Boys
(2017 Self-Released)

"Hell is other people" - Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

"Hell is a room full of nerds falling in love" - Stampeter, Too Many Boys

Translating Luca Marie's muffled bedroom pop murmur into the voice of a proper trio is an effort that requires more attention to the kerning of its font than the content of the letters on the page. Too Many Boys, the Connecticut emo outfit's first release as a full band, is the fruit of this sonic spring cleaning, sacrificing some of the quaint twang of earlier efforts for confident, roomy projection. It's the three-way intersection that joins Blake Babies, Dinosaur Jr., and Flatsound, their collective exhaust fumes forming a fuzzy conviction that can't accurately be labeled as either emo or grunge, but falls somewhere between the two.

"Pullout Couch" immediately establishes Stampeter's newfound amplitude. Opening with a sneakily soft pairing of rhythm guitar and tom-tom, the band contrasts their intro with an eruption of magmatic distortion and cymbal crashes. A faint Casio riff tops the composition like melodic sprinkles before the band launches into double time for a brief foray into pop-punk territory, then returns to the minimal creep that they started with. Stampeter isn't satisfied with repetition: in just three-and-a-half minutes, multiple genres and tempos are adopted and discarded before settling on a single sound, much to the advantage of the listener.

Too Many Boys is at its best at its most nineties. On "Waters",  Stampeter channels Weezer, lacing their crescendos with an abundance of oooohs, while "Horribly Comfy" hearkens back to The Sundays' signature guitar tone, as distant and prickly as an arm that has fallen asleep.

As far as Bandcamp culture goes, there aren't many bands that balance the rawness of a basement show with studio polish as well as Stampeter. Too Many Boys is a smartly-curated compilation of new material and revisited classics that sustains its energy for its full runtime. It's a portable DIY show: all the vivacity of live music minus the gas it'd take to see it.