Commencing with the tongue-in-cheek "Kick Some Ass" ("I wanna kick some ass but I'm really just a sensitive artist..."), Stroke 9 blazes through 12 tracks that juggle high-energy post-grunge and arena rock that centers on guitar-driven hooks, soaring vocals, and strong melodies. Vocalist Luke Esterkyn raps, croons, and belts out tales of broken relationships and excess with self-effacing humor and passion. Rather than stick to one formula, Stroke 9 dabbles with various genres such as electronica, metal, alternative, and funk without losing its identity. "We Were Wrong" employs soulful tape loops and "Medicinal Marriage" delves into a choppy new wave groove that echoes producer Jerry Harrison's old outfit, Talking Heads. "Don't Worry" borrows the chord progression from Jefferson Airplane's "Volunteers" by sheer accident but, whether playing hard and fast or opting for the slow sensitive mode, Stroke 9 takes its audience on a roller coaster ride of intriguing modern rock circa 2001.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Semioli