Too Young To Go Steady
By Devon McReynolds
Described by their promotional pamphlet as a "noisy brand of thrash-pop [that] blends tough buzzsaw punk with sweet lilting girl vocals," Mob Stereo’s debut album Too Young To Go Steady is a combination of these elements, but certainly nothing special.
The guitar melodies get quite repetitive and have virtually the same sound on every song. The only difference guitar-wise that sets each song apart from the other is the variation in the type of "white noise"; think Sonic Youth-style feedback. The drum beats are typical of a garage-rock band but are still bouncy enough to get even the most rigid concertgoer at least bobbing his head.
While the general sound of Mob Stereo has been heard before in basically every high school "punk" band, lead singer Noor Jahan Fletcher adds a satisfying dose of estrogen with her beautiful, floaty vocals. Her Debbie Harry-esque voice contrasts brilliantly with the thrashing, abrasive guitars and is by far the best (and most interesting) characteristic Mob Stereo has to offer. Unfortunately though, much of the feedback from the guitars overshadows this aspect.
Despite some of its triteness, Too Young To Go Steady still has some songs that are fun to dance to and sing along with. "Bubblegum and Binders" is a perfect example of Fletcher’s soft vocal melodies over classic punk-rock guitar chords; complete with the effervescent hand-claps I certainly never tire of. The second to last song on the album, "Fairy Someone" is the one song on the album with a much slower cadence to it, with a heavy, gloomy Yeah Yeah Yeah’s-style of guitar to it - again, contrasting pleasantly with Fletcher’s almost whispering incantation.
While this album is only mediocre, if Mob Stereo focuses more on their new-wave-y aspect, they will probably be much more successful - not just another ordinary high school "punk" band mooching off of feedback-friendly bands like Sonic Youth and the Pixies.