Stomacher - Sentimental Education
Record Label: None
Release Date: June 23, 2009
Stomacher’s Sentimental Education picks up where the band's last release left off. Despite the new name (the band was formerly known as In Reverent Fear) and an additional member, this group of musicians has not been deterred from producing an overtly dark and haunting record.
Stomacher make no apologies for the thoughtful, ambient nature of their music. The dark undertones that float throughout the album portray the turmoil of life – vocalist Jarrod Taylor declares on "Ghost Wail" that there is “no hope for tomorrow, wine for today” alongside the track paradoxically bursting into life. Lyrically the rest of the album follows suit by being creative and sometimes ambiguous. This is no hindrance with Taylor’s voice perfectly complimenting the ambient sound. Comparisons with Thom Yorke are inevitable, but Taylor definitely brings something refreshing to the table.
The slow, ponderous vibe that echoes throughout the album does not mean that it drearily plods along. Instead, the record never comes across as boring. Instead, there is an inevitable air of relaxation generated by the elegant ambience – a result of the numerous reverb/delay effects. Such guitar work is excellent and serves its purpose in creating a wonderfully haunting sound that complements the vocals and adds to the experience.
Highlights on the album include the slow, string-based track entitled "The Devil", which is excellent in allowing the lingering atmosphere to descend, especially after the straight up rock sound of the previous track. Still, the more upbeat tracks are, at times, breathtaking. Remaining eerie yet allowing the importance of solid musicianship to shine through. This makes tracks like personal favourite, "Behavior", that more enjoyable. Consequently, by the time you reach the finale the album is perfectly poised to delicately drift out, instilling an air of peacefulness rather than emptiness.
The entire album is undoubtedly listenable. In fact, on the whole, it’s quite an enjoyable and relaxing experience. It's not a record for everyone – it is probable that some may consider it to be unmemorable in places. This should not condemn the album. Instead, consider this a record that is beautifully pertinent in providing a soundtrack to allow you to unwind on a cold winter night. The dark nature of the lyrics does not detract from this. Sentimental Education has the potential to leave you drifting off to sleep with a peaceful smile painted on your face.