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Stacey Y Band – Set the Water Straight – Album Review

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Stacey Y Band – Set the Water Straight - a great debut album that shows lots of promise

Set the Water StraightTOTAL SCORE: 7.6/10

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Style: R&B, pop, soul, rock,
Release Date: June 20th, 2013
Label: Independent

The Toronto rooted Stacey Y Band released their debut album “Set the Water Straight” on June 20th, which was recorded at Humber College Studios, Epik Production Studios, and Heaven Sound. The band consists of guitarist Tom Hanley, bassist Mark Rynkun, drummer George Nikolov and singer, songwriter and keyboardist, Stacey Y.

The album opens with the track “Water”, a song that sets the underlying musical style and precedent of the album, which greatly exemplifies Stacey’s vocal range and piano virtuosity. Stacey is the main driving force behind the album and “Water” is a great opening track that introduces her ability as both a songwriter and multi-faceted musician. After “Water” the album transitions to the more groovy and funky track “Hey Sir” which introduces the band, and their funky dynamic setting the stage for the core of the album.

“Open Lot”, “Save the Future”, “Please Tell Me Why” and “I Hope You Know” highlight the contrasts of the band’s dynamic, with the tempo ranging from down trodden to upbeat, which interplays nicely between Stacey’s powerful vocals and the chemistry and ambiance of the band. For the most part, the contrast between the slow tempo ballads and the more upbeat tracks work well given the bands style. However, the track “I Tripped” – the heaviest and rockiest tune on the album – felt slightly out of place and seemed to disrupt the flow of the album. It was at this point that I felt like the album lost some of its momentum, but it was only a small bump in an otherwise solid staple of work.

The last three songs on the album “Music”, Words of Philosophers” and “Set the Water Straight” are some of my favourite tracks, and “Words of Philosophers” is one of my favorite tracks off the album. The song is a great representation of how incredible Stacey’s vocal range is and how multifaceted the rest of the band’s musical abilities are. Also, the last song — “Set the Water Straight” — is a great finale that brings the whole lyrical theme of looking at life, yourself and the world in an open and positive way to a satisfying close.

“Set the Water Straight” echoes various influences including the likes of Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, and Norah Jones. But Stacey and the band do a good job of adding their own sound and style that transcends multiple genres from soul, pop to R&B. One of the most difficult things for bands starting out is maintaining influences while honing in on one’s own sound; “Set the Water Straight” has a great balance of both, which becomes more apparent as the album progresses towards it climax in the last couple of songs.

One of the only major critiques I have with the album is its overall flow. Because the band crosses so many different musical genres, the tempo of the album feels like it reaches two different extremes at some points during the album. As a result, the course of the album is briefly interrupted at points — particularly with the track “I Tripped”. However, this is a very small critique in an otherwise great piece of work.

Ultimately, “Set the Water Straight” is a great debut album that shows lots of promise. Every aspect from the recording, sound quality, musicianship, vocals and songwriting is great and the versatility of the bands playing styles and Stacey’s vocals is impressive. If you enjoy the sound of soul, funk, pop and R&B this album is an enjoyable listen.

http://www.staceyy.com

Review By: Ty Hooper

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