Songs About Something/Nothing

Released in may 2006, on private label

Tracks: Written By: Lead Singer: Time
1:The Devil (Vindberg) Jesper 2.21
2:Everything is Open (Vindberg) Jesper 5.32
3:A Bit of Alright (Vindberg) Jesper 4.42
4:Song About Something / Nothing (Vindberg) Jesper 4.48
5:Miss Right (Vindberg) Jesper 3.27

Bonus Tracks On Reissue

6:Back From the Sky (Vindberg) Jesper and Thomas 4.29
7:Take Me Back (Vindberg ) Jesper 4.15

Review by Rasmus Ardahl of MyMusic dk - 25 July 2006
translated from Danish by Morten Vindberg
Original review can be read here!

Intelligent Pop
Aims are high and the Stairs are largely succesful with their ambitious excesses.
Vindberg´s vocal, as the present narrator´s voice, succeeds in bringing the wondrous compositions to the surface.

After one listen to the Stairs´ album you´re pretty overwhelmed and at the same same time slightly confused. The reasons for this particular reaction are at the same time the strenght and the weakness of the Stairs´ music at its best. Both pompous and ambitious and at the same time at the limit of collapsing under the scope of the component tracks.

First track indicates straight guitar-rock and though it has a fine chorus where harmonic colours are allowed forward the strack isn´t at all representative for what awaits you later on the album. The absolute highlights, in my view, are namely tracks three and four where the ambitions of the Stairs are indeed fulfilled. A Bit Of All Right starts off in quiet country mood, with lead-singer and songwriter Jesper Vindberg chanting the melancholy lyrics before the full-bodied accompaniment brings the songs to the heady climax of the chorus. The arrangement is excellent both in instrumentation and in the way the almost five minutes are administered dynamically.

The title-track Song About Something/Nothing contains some of the same elements, but it´s even more flaming in its approach. This rock-symohonic track is a moulding playground, where experiments in change of tempo and dynamics are performed, without the house of cards collapsing. It´s far-fetched, but at the same time greatly amusing and musically urging and I think the whole thing holds. When the Stairs through the compositions of Jesper Vindberg reach this almost decadent level, they make you think of artist like Rufus Wainwright and especially The Divine Comedy.

Less will also do and the remaining tracks on the album are less refined and more straight-forward pop or rocktracks; still of high quality. In particular Everything Is Open and Back From The Sky have obvious radio qualities, though the chorus of the latter does tend to flirt a little too much with clichés. The higher ambitions, the harder it is for a band to remain serene and stylewise distinct, and here the Stairs are no exception. There are at times big gaps between the styles of individual tracks, and here you feel a potential pitfall. The Stairs risk sitting down between more stools. But as said before, it is the many shades that make the band stand out among the crowd, and artistic emperimenting compared to conservatism is to be prefereed after all.

The production is okay, but no more, which again has to do with the great span of the music. The sound-design works fine with the simpler tracks, while the production has more difficulties in enclosing the more complex tracks, and also the production of the indivial tracks tends to be a little uneven. At times the guitar is too loud and the vocals too meek, and the individual instruments would be helped from being more isolated in the sound-picture. co-operation with an outside producer could turn out to be fruitful.

Summing it up, though, this is an excellent release where Vindberg´s vocal, as the present narrator´s voice, succeeds in bringing the wondrous compositions to the surface. When it comes to harmonizing Vindberg is a wizzard, whose playing with variations of major and minor harnonies brings forward many colours of sound, while it is still possible to reduce a tendency to use harmonic and melodic clichés and lyrically there should be also be improvements. If the production is improved and the band gets more focused in its approach, it´ll be really interesting to see, what heights the Stairs will be able to reach.

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