Words by Amanda Ratcliffe
Starting a new rock group while on tour with your current band isnít something that youíd expect from a New Zealand outfit. But thatís exactly what Steriogramís singer and guitarist, Bradley Hanan Carter decided to do back in 2007. He chose three friends from established bands around the world to record a six track EP titled 'Smiling Can Backfire'. Each member, being in a different country meant recording across the internet - which Carter explains, ďits been sortaí like having four long distance relationships at onceÖĒ.
The EP was a success across the board, so it was time for the members to finally meet each other. They were flown to Los Angeles in early 2009 where they wrote and recorded material for their debut album, 'My Own Private Amsterdam'. Their earlier music was likened to US popsters Weezer, but with time, theyíve developed a sound that is truly unique to them. Itís more refined which is undoubtedly the result of their being in the same country for most of the recordings.
The first single to be released off the album, 'Frankfurt' is a definite standout on the disc, which proves that simplicity is always a winner. The track featured on Off The Record on popular radio station, The Rock over NZ Music Month, gaining the band more recognition and fans along the way. The intro to 'Beautiful' boasts catchy Ė and again, simple drum beats to perk up the ears of listeners before getting into a slightly rockier sound, previously unexplored.
Fans of the groupís debut EP will be delighted to see that 'When I Go Out' made it to the final cut - and a little FYI for you - the video for this track documents the bandís first meeting and working together on recording the album. Itís pop-rock at itís finest, as is 'Happy Pills', which has a familiarity to it that makes me wonder if this will be their next radio hit? Youíll hear hints of Steriogram in songs like 'Symphony Brother' and 'In My Eyes', which is comforting to know that Mr Carter is still the same man with the same style.
If youíre into finger picking, 'Fragile' shares that enticing simplicity that is all too beautiful, mixed with strong vocals and backed with pain. Slowly is much rockier and comes as a bit of a shock after such a controlled track prior. I donít think I would have put this one in this place, but maybe it was their intention to Ďwake people upí? Last song on the album, 'Central Park' is charming and will leave you wondering whatís next for the band. Apparently a NZ tour is on the cards. Watch this space, and while youíre watching, listen to 'My Own Private Amsterdam'.
Pistol Youth started as an experiment throughout 2007.
A six track EP was then recorded across the internet without the band members actually meeting.
The EP experiment seemed to work so well that the band all flew to Los Angeles in January 2008 to meet, write and record material for the upcoming full length album.