With the profusion of proto-metal, stoner, psychedelic rock acts about the question is, do we really need another one? Zodiac, Blue Pills, Scorpion Child and a host of others are now joined by Stubb and their second full-length release Cry of the Ocean (Ripple). Everything fuzzed up, riffs repeated ad infinitum and laid back languid vocals it would seem that Stubb have all the ingredients to fit into the psych, blues locker and roll out success.
But there is a problem; at times it seems that all the ingredients are part of a formula. It is only by the time track four, ‘Sail Forever’ kicks in that the sense of individualism comes through, as Jack Dickinson’s vocals rise above his intricate guitar work. The ability to put together such involved work is on display on ‘Heartbreaker’, but Dickinson’s vocal performance this time is reminiscent of an off-key punk doing a ballad during the verses, however, when it kicks in it turns into a good track which displays the potential of the band. Stand-out track ‘Devil’s Brew’ has a sense of purpose to the blues tinged classic rock feel as Christopher West (drums) and Peter Holland (bass) drive the track along, though
Throughout this release there is no doubt of the potential in Stubb; but someone needs to sit them down, take that potential (and musical ability) and slap it into shape. At times they stray into early Pink Floyd, Iron Butterfly and Cream territory so much so that it might be best to take any albums they have of those acts away from them until they can work on their own sound, and Dickinson’s vocals range from bluesy to sounding like Roger Waters giving a lecture on life’s lessons.
Despite these criticisms, what Stubb have produced is a solid album within their chosen genre, with the final two tracks –‘Snake Eyes’ and ‘You’ll Never Know’ – showcasing what they can do when they focus. The space the seven-minutes plus of each track allows is enough to doff a cap at what Stubb might become. Overall, this not a bad release, but has too many flaws to make it an essential part of collections of fans of this type of rock.