For a band named in tribute to ‘80s slasher films and comprising of members of 2000s post-punk outfit Day Of The Fight, there’s an unavoidably sunny disposition to The Stayawakes. They have every right to be, mind, channeling the upbeat, timeless power-pop of bands like The Lemonheads and The Posies in what’s becoming a sadly diminishing style, and even getting Kenneth Ishak of Beezewax (another primary influence) onboard for pre-production.
The result is Dogs And Cats / Living Together, a breezy, simplistic indie-rock album harking back to waning days of youth and recapturing those moments, all because that’s what The Stayawakes are remarkably good at. This isn’t an album looking to instill grand social commentary or portentous weight, and frankly it doesn’t need to. The reliance of sticky, swollen-hearted hooks and melodies becomes the main prerogative, and with the likes of Jake and High School Weirdness, the band are able to slip into their guise of ‘90s indie-rock with minimum fuss. It rarely breaks new ground (the number of bands that The Stayawakes list as influences speaks for itself in that regard), but it’s a fitting homage all the same; the earthy, rock-solid power chords of Keepsakes and Cursed hit all the sweet spots in terms of exuberant, emotional songwriting, and even if Andrew Ricks doesn’t have the greatest voice in the world, he’s able to convey a sense weather-worn emotion that rarely fails to hit the desired mark.
And with that, there’s not much else to say about this album. Dogs And Cats / Living Together is the sort of power-pop album that many would describe as “deceptively simple”, but there’s nothing deceptive about it; the easygoing, pick-up-and-play nature is its key feature, and the band play to almost every strength that offers. Sure, it most likely won’t be enough to win everyone over to their cause, but there’s always an audience for power-pop and indie-rock in this vein, and The Stayawakes are well worth investing in for that.
For fans of: Weezer, The Lemonheads, The Wannadies
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Dogs And Cats / Living Together’ by The Stayawakes is released on 1st June on Surefire Discs / badHORROR Recordings / ShoveItUpYourCult Records.