Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of listening to the highly anticipated follow-up to Stray from the Path’s (SFTP) 2011 release, Rising Sun. To me, I felt this album the best of their career thus far and had elevated them to a new level of success. That being said, I had set the bar pretty high for this new record and I’m please to say there isn’t a single disappointing moment on this record. It’s easily just as good, if not better, than Rising Sun and I think their level of success is going to launch even higher.
One thing that struck me about this record from the very beginning was that while the guitar tone and overall production is just as good as the previous album, it sounds like a completely different band on record. I feel as though they really matured as a band and have not only been able to find a way to channel their anger and frustrations through music without sounding too hokey, but have been able to continue to learn and grow as a band and as songwriters. Some of the songs on this record are arguably some of the best of their career.
One reason being, I think the cover songs they released were a sneak peek of who they were really drawing influence from at the time and what to expect for the new record. For example, a couple of months ago, the band released a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s classic “Vietnow.” They later released a cover of Green Day’s “Burnout” and listening to the record, I could out a couple of parts that suggested those bands as influence. “Badge and a Bullet” kicks of with a pinched guitar part in the same vein of what Tom Morello did for RATM that breaks into an enormous riff of RATM quality. I also feel as though Drew York (singer) is projecting more swagger on this record than ever before.
I think SFTP are like Green Day in the sense that what they sing has always been very politically driven, like Green Day, but certainly not exclusively linked to just them. I think the way they present their lyrics and themselves as a band in general is similar to Green Day because they clearly don’t care what you think about them and they wear everything on their sleeves in a very simplistic and accessible way, which makes it easier for people and fans to latch onto and fall in love with them.
At the end of the day, this record is great because the songs are great. “False Flag”, “Landmines”, “Scissor Hands” and “Counting Sheep” are just a few of the songs on this record that really just blow you away. It’s super solid, very consistent, and if you’ve been a fan for a while then you will not be disappointed. If you’re completely unaware of this band, then do yourself a favor and check them out.