Under the Influence, Vol. 1

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There are few surprises on Stereotyperider's covers album Under the Influence, Vol. 1, from the unimaginative title on down. Would anyone who has heard Stereotyperider's previous three albums' worth of post-hardcore indie rock be surprised to discover that they really like Archers of Loaf, the Pixies, Fugazi and the Descendents? Songs by all four of those bands, along with second-string grunge-rockers Seaweed, the proto-emo Quicksand and the Cure, appear here, all of them delivered in Stereotyperider's effective but occasionally monochromatic style. It's the Cure who come off the best, actually: their early single "Jumping Someone Else's Train" was a churning slab of dark-hued post-punk, and Stereotyperider nimbly transform it without losing the best qualities of the original. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of their faceless version of the Pixies' classic "Where Is My Mind?," which somehow comes out sounding like the kind of third-rate semi-emo alterna rock that the music supervisors of The OC must get pitched on a daily basis. The rest of the album is pitched between those two poles, luckily with most of the tracks closer to the former than the latter. Under the Influence, Vol. 1 was undoubtedly fun to record, and Stereotyperider fans interested in exploring the group's influences can use it as a jumping-off point, but it's definitely a minor effort.

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