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Stroke 9

The Last of the International Playboys

The new Stroke 9 album, “The Last of the International Playboys” is one of the band’s best releases. It’s actually second only to their Universal debut “Nasty Little Thoughts.” It’s everything you expect from these guys after they have put out so many quality releases. It’s witty, it’s humorous, it’s energetic, it’s catchy, but mostly it’s just really good. One of the things that’s always stifled and bothered the Stroke 9 faithful is why these guys aren’t used repeatedly in the same category as the late 90’s/early 2000’s powerhouse bands Matchbox 20 and 3rd Eye Blind. Their music is just as good as those bands, except they didn’t go on to change their name to Stroke Nine. On “The Last of the International Playboys” Eric Stock, John McDermott, and Luke Esterkyn are in their usual outstanding form. Luke’s voice is why these guys have stayed around for so long and have kept the fan-base that they have. It’s unique in it’s light rasp. Somehow Luke’s voice is more relatable than any lead singer from his generation. A special note should also be made for bassist Jens Funke. Although he’s been in the band for awhile now, this is the first studio album he’s really gotten a chance to contribute to. Jens was a big part of the creative process this time around and his input has breathed new life into Stroke 9. There’s not a bad track on this album, but there are some standouts. “The One” is definitely a highlight because it’s catchy as hell. “So Good” is another standout track because it has that tongue in cheek Stroke 9 humor to it and the claps mixed in with the instrumentation makes it sound different than your usual Stroke 9 track. The other key standout track on this album is “Last of the International Playboys”, not only because it has one of my favorite first lines in a song ever, but because it’s light with lots of sound to it that can be likened to some classic Stroke 9 songs like “Vacuum Bag.” Stroke 9’s new album is definitely one to pick up. It’s their best album in a long time, not only fitting for a band of this caliber, but fitting for one of the most underrated bands of all time.


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