Ballsy hard rock is the name of the game on this CD and those who love the rocking sounds of early Aerosmith and Grand Funk will find a lot to like here, though be aware this is not an exercise in retro rock. 16 Second Stare manages to take the best elements of those great bands and add its’ own modern touches for a new yet familiar sound for the new era in hard rock. There is also a generous dollop of old-school Southern Rock in the mix, which makes sense as most of the band is from either Florida or Muscle Shoals, Alabama. One lone member is from Detroit and there a little Motor City madness here as well, adding some raunch to the mix.
Where most modern bands playing this style of music today are sort of one-dimensional, harking back and almost copying note-for-note from classic bands, 16 Second Stare has the attitude and essence of those classic rockers, yet shakes up the game quite a bit. In a sense, I can see them sharing the stage with Aerosmith in 1972 but also succeeding on the radio today post-grunge. The singer is phenomenal and has an old-school presence most vocalists today can’t seem to muster and the band simply smokes. The songs are well-written, with enough hooks to become embedded in your mind but with plenty of spaces to let the band members wail away for a few minutes. I can see these songs becoming excellent springboards for some extended on stage solos and riffing, though don’t mistake that for a jam-band reference. This band does not sound like one of those noodle-farian bands at all, preferring to let loud guitars, pounding drums, and bowel-rattling bass do the talking, while having enough shout-along hooks to leave any listeners happy.