Stacked Like Pancakes Proclaims: ‘This Is Us’

MMM, tasty! Stacked Like Pancakes have dropped a new album.  This is their first release since 2011’s ‘We’re Not Insane’ and is called ‘This Is Us.’  Let’s see what this Baltimore based septet has in store for us…

 

  1. “These Are Odd Times to be Alive”- Ska punk meets hard rock meets funk in this opening track. Stacked Like Pancakes wastes no time when it comes to bringing the energy.  Great song!  Grade: A-

 

  1. “Laughing at Me”- Few, in my mind have successfully married the ska and rap genres. Vocally this sounds a lot like Eminem; interjected with traditional singing.  Sorry gents, this one didn’t work for me at all.  Grade: C-

 

  1. “SFDD”-Wow! Get your feet moving for this lightning-paced, profanity-laced scorcher!  It is amazing to hear a horn section that plays this fast, making your heart race with every note.  This song will get stuck in your head, I promise!  Grade: A

 

  1. “Brown Leather Shoes”- The lone horns take the lead in this slower number. When I listen to this, I picture a man walking down the dark streets, in the rain, with his prized new purchase.  A little change of pace, and I dig it.  Grade: B+

 

  1. “It’s Too Late”- It’s time to take off your brown leather shoes and replace them with your checkered Van’s. Hit the dance floor people, in this pop punk anthem. Aside from the brief rap part near the middle, this is one solid tune.  Grade: B+

 

  1. “Rule #32”- I am a big fan of instrumentals, especially of the ska-punk variety. This one grows a little long with me, but is enjoyable just the same.  Grade: B+

 

  1. “Sway”- Leaning less toward the punk side, and more towards alternative rock-based ska, “Sway” is a nice feel-good song. Grade: A-

 

  1. “Planetary”- With blaring horns, “Planetary” starts out as a musical kick to the teeth and then backs things off a bit with its transition to a smooth reggae song. Just when the listener gets comfortable, the song changes again.  Both hard hitting and mellow at the same time.  Grade: A

 

  1. “Sharks in the Sky”- With short stipulated lyrics, this is a quirky song with elements of easy listening tunes from the 70’s. This one is going to grow on me, I know it!  Grade: B+

 

  1. “Dangerous Beginnings”- Musically, I’m not sure where to place this one. There is kind of a slow build which leads to the more aggressive ending.  It does not have an overly ska feel to it, and I imagine that this song could be sung by any popular singer today and sound right at home.   Grade: A-

 

  1. “Pimp for a Day”- This is your classic third wave tune.  There is nothing new or original here, but a great song none the less.  Grade: A

 

  1. “Catching Yellow”- “Catching Yellow” is another cheerful ska number. Stacked Like Pancakes does here what they do best and that’s constantly changing rhythms and styles.  Another winner.  Grade: A-

 

  1. “Renegade”- After the skank-worthiness of the last tune, it’s now time to hold onto your porkpie hat. This song will knock that, and your socks off.  Straight up ska punk at its finest.  Grade: A

 

  1. “Money Sucks”- I normally am not a big fan of stripped down acoustic numbers. However, I really dig how they make reference to their other songs, in this highly addictive campfire sing along song. Grade: A-

 

  1. “Suburban Superhero”- Normally acoustic songs are found at the end, but this is a perfect closing track. I wonder if they end their concerts with this one as well.  Nice job guys!  Grade: A

 

 Stacked Like Pancakes boldly proclaim ‘This Is Us;’ in other words, they make no apologies for their signature sound.   Years ago, it was easy to place ska bands in either the traditional, upbeat or punk varieties, but recently the ska landscape has changed.  Bands have melded several styles from metal to emo to 90’s alternative to create new genre-melding sounds.  Stacked Like Pancakes can lead the charge in the, dare I say, 4th wave of ska.  Overall, this is a fantastic recording which is mixed very well. As mentioned earlier there are many different styles thrown in the mix from rap to hair metal.  The band succeeds most with the straight up ska-punk numbers such as “Suburban Superhero,” “Renegade” and “SFDD” however the variations in genres throughout is refreshing.  The only sour note for me was “Laughing at Me,” but hey you can’t blame the guys for trying.  Musically, the band is dynamic at every turn, even during the slightly slower numbers.  Vocally the lead seems to be plucked from an A Capella group or his school’s musical theatre program.  This softer vocal tone creates a unique sound especially when transposed against the harder sounding guitars. Another standout is the constant changing of rhythms found in most songs.  For the listener, this album is a whirlwind of surprises, making you wonder what style will show up next.  Overall I truly enjoyed this album and can’t wait to see what SLP can dish up next.

 

Overall Grade: B+

 

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