The talented quartet from Charlotte, North Carolina has been around since 2009 and, according to the biography on their official website, works hard to save the world “one rock song at a time.” Within the last few years, Grown Up Avenger Stuff has been steadily building up a solid fanbase and critical acclaim. The group has opened for a range of bands and artists as diverse as their own musical style, including Killola, Vanity Theft, Hunter Valentine, and Cursive. Their latest release, Sparkleton, eagerly follows on the heels of their 2012 critically acclaimed release entitled Alive. Their new album wastes no time in establishing the band as a force to be reckoned with in the music world, serving as a refreshingly tall glass of cool in an indie scene that is overloaded with new and sometimes similar-sounding music.
The band cites a bunch of unrelated bands as their influence – David Bowie, Weezer, Rage Against the Machine, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin all make up the influences for the group’s inimitable sound. The band takes particular components of each of these influences and melds them to fit the Grown Up Avenger Stuff blueprint. Sparkleton has only seven songs, but absolutely no filler. Each track on the album is completely different from the one preceding it, and this genre-hopping coupled with lead singer Deirdre Kroener’s Wonder Woman vocals bring back memories of old school No Doubt.
Sparkleton kicks off with the solid “Some Of Us,” setting a rock hard foundation of total awesomeness for the rest of the album. Songs like the manic “The Beat,” “Too Cool,” and “Do Ya” stuff in numerous styles and genres into under five and a half minutes of music, yet never sound forced or inauthentic. The band transitions from one style to another as easily as Batman sits his butt down into his Batmobile, and this genre-hopping is complemented by Kroener’s adaptive vocals. The graceful crooning of Kroener seamlessly jumps into feverish punk screamo-vocals in songs like “Pins” and “The Man,” and thanks to the foolproof backing of the talented Thomsen brothers trio, the songs never sound derived.
In today’s world of indie music excess, distortion, autotune, and synthesizers are abused by so many bands, making Grown Up Avenger Stuff a breath of fresh air. There are no embellishments on Sparkleton – it literally sounds like four people jamming in a garage, recording songs in a couple of takes, max. The band’s DIY sensibility is admirable and the energy of their live show is palpable just from listening to the album – a tough task to conquer. But I guess we shouldn’t be surprised – after all, they are billed as “Your friendly neighborhood rock band with super powers.”
The badass band is currently touring around the East Coast, and more information can be found on their website.