Steriogram - This Is Not the Target Market

Chances are that you will already be acquainted with the sounds of New Zealand five-piece "Steriogram" via their 2004 hit "Walkie Talkie Man". The "Ipod" brand having used this tune extensively for their TV advertising campaigns around that time.

"Steriogram's" resulting Capitol Records major label debut "Schmack" then spawned six singles, only for the band to seemingly disappear on the brink of making the all-important mainstream break through.

So, it is to the follow up, the rather aptly named "This is Not The Target Market", released on Cargo in the UK and through a network of independents worldwide.

Kicking off with a heavily QOTSA influenced "Get Up" I was wondering just what the hell the who-ha around the guys was on about by continually referring to them as "Rapcore". The splinter sharp riffage of "Get Up" cutting out any preformed visions I might have had of leisurewear or Cannabis Leaf sovereign rings.
Its when second track "Talk About It" hits your ears that this description becomes pretty self-evident and it isn't long before the duel semi rapping vocals of "Tyson Kennedy" and guitarist "Brad Carter" start to wear me down.

I can't exactly describe myself as a big fan of the glut of bands that followed the coat tails of bands like "Faith No More", so "This is Not The Target Market" was never really going to be an easy musical ride for me.
However, that is not to say that this album is all posturing or in any way like the rather one dimensional output of a band like "Clawfinger".
No, tracks like "Own Way Home" and "Just Like You" do have that immediacy and urgency required from truly great rock/pop.
And on tracks like "Wasted" Steriogram sound like powerpop guru "Will Owsley" fronting "Green Day".
I simply wish that "Steriogram" could cut the harshness of the rapping, which is something that makes me skip tracks like "Built on Lies (Gangster)" every time I give this album a spin. The more powerpop driven material from "Schmack" seemed to substitute this desire to "rap" with a much more accessible "Soulwax" like pop quality, that for me worked much better.

At only ten tracks in length, "This is Not The Target Market" doesn't really do much to sell you, the listener, the "Steriogram" dream. Rather, it sounds like a collection of songs containing a mixed up vision of "must have" musical reference points, albeit with some aforementioned gems just waiting to be discovered.

"This is Not The Target Market" is the sound of a band that wants to appeal to everyone, but I fear, will sadly end up appealing to few. Which is a shame really.


by Johnny H.

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