Stop Words = Built to Spill + Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Let’s say you’re an intern for a low-budget indie film being shot here in Salt Lake, and director Lynn Shelton is having a rough time finding the appropriate soundtrack for her Clerks remake, starring Michael Cera and Emile Hirsch. It’s your first day on the job, and you messed up the coffee order this morning. How do you redeem yourself? You go ahead and hand executive producer Mark Duplass the new Stop Words, Coastal. While listening to this album, I began remembering scenes from different movies, and the more I listened, the more that the soundtrack vibe of the EP cemented in my mind.
Vocalist/guitarist Jamie Johnson is the wizard behind the curtain on this EP, and has managed to create a sound that is simple yet full and catchy enough to not be overlooked. The entire work comprises guitars, bass, drums and vocals. It is a no-frills, straight-up, indie-rock collection of songs that offers an endearing, lo-fi quality. The opening track, “Prescribed Life,” holds onto a sparse and low-intensity texture for the majority of its duration. It proceeds to build a little intensity with some upward (harmonic) mobility in search for a climax point to the song. However, the intensity level of this climax—once reached—is unprecedented and catches us off-guard in the best way. This formula stays constant throughout the rest of the EP, but it is most effective and striking when it happens on “Prescribed Life.”
Coastal could easily fit the bill as the background music on your weekly games and wine night with your friends, but the songs hold the potential to be truly powerful and spectacular in a live setting. That, combined with how full Stop Words have managed to make the EP sound—with a three-piece band set-up—is the reason why they deserve your attention. You can download the full EP at stopwords.bandcamp.com.