Sticky Fingers – Westway (The Glitter & The Slums)
1.) One by One
2.) Outcast At Last
3.) Sad Songs
5.) Our Town
7.) Something Strange (feat. REMI)
8.) Flight 101
9.) Tongue & Cheek
11.) No Divide
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: September 30th, 2016
Release Date: Sureshaker Records
Official Website: Sticky Fingers Website
Sticky Fingers are a chart-topping 5-piece out of Sydney, Australia. The band’s extraordinary popularity in Australia has quickly bubbled over into Europe, North America, and beyond. By artfully mashing together reggae, indie and psychedelic rock, Sticky Fingers have built themselves a sound all their own. Westway (The Glitter & The Slums) is the band’s 3rd studio album. It follows a wildly successful sophomore album in Land of Pleasure, an equally revered debut album Caress Your Soul, and a pair of stellar EPs from the Stickies’ early days. Sticky Fingers are Dylan Frost (vocals/guitar), Paddy Cornwall (bass/vocals), Seamus Coyle (lead guitar), Beaker Best (drums), and Freddy Crabs (keys).
2 years after the dream-like high of their 2nd album Land Of Pleasure, Sticky Fingers return with a darker, more introspective album in Westway (The Glitter & The Slums). Westway continues the band’s trend away from the laxed-out reggae-rock sound of their early material, choosing a transcendent path toward an entirely new atmosphere of music.
It’s hard not to miss the beautiful simplicity and youthful rawness of the songs on “Extended Play” and “Caress Your Soul,” but the Stickies’ musicianship, writing, and production on Westway reaches a new level. Sticky Fingers don’t just come up with a clever hook and mail it in for the rest of the song; they build up momentum and burst through the finish in a methodically haywire fashion. And despite the fact my American ears can’t always make out the exact words Frost is singing, it’s impossible not to sing along to every song.
Intro track “One By One” is an agreeable warmup that sets the table for an incredible stretch of songs. “Outcast At Last” is a an absolutely killer track, and deserves a nomination for song of the year. As the song heats up, Frost sings his lines with fervor while Freddy Crabs laces in a slick riff on the keyboard. Sticky Fingers have a knack for effectively using backing vocals, and nowhere is that more beautifully exhibited than on “Sad Songs.” “Angel” has grown on me, but overall it’s a pretty safe song, which is not exactly the band’s M.O.
The middle portion of Westway features a 5-song stretch, from “Our Town” to “Tongue & Cheek,” that is simply brilliant. “Don’t be standing on the corner when we show up,” advises the bubbly, carefree track “Our Town.”
Title track “Westway” is subtle, but reveals itself more and more each listen. Slightly reminiscent of “Rum Rage,” once again it’s guitarist Seamus Coyle’s nimble fretwork that makes this an instant classic. “Something Strange” is just about the only song you’ll hear the vintage Sticky Fingers’ psych-reggae blend on Westway; So, perhaps it’s no coincidence that the track is a home run. Though the rap by guest vocalist REMI threw me for a loop at first, it actually fits in rather well, and the end of “Something Strange” is so nasty that it’s a moot point.
The orderly chaos of Frost heralding, “It’s the perfect day to throw it all away,” while Paddy Cornwall holds tight on the backing vocals is the best moment on the entire album. “Flight 101” is another stroke of genius, and contains a simple, but infectious hook. The Stickies’ rock it out one last time on “Tongue & Cheek” before cooling things down with a couple slower ones.
“Amillionite” is really the only weak track on Westway. Sticky Fingers have crushed acoustic songs in the past, but “Amillionite” isn’t quite up to par. Finally, Westway is capped off by “No Divide,” a somber track that carries a ton of emotion. It even begins with an eerie pattering of rain.
Whether by choice or chance, Westway is distinctively darker than anything Sticky Fingers have released to date. Despite the meteoric success these guys have achieved in Australia, which is finally being recognized in the US, it’s clear they still experience struggle, drama, and depression. Perhaps it’s even more magnified than ever. And to it’s namesake Westway features the highs and the lows. Both the glitter and the slums. Fortunately, whether the Stickies’ are putting out heartbreak ballads or tripped-out reggae-rock anthems, they deliver over and over again.
Written & Reviewed By: Brian Winters
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]
Watch: Sticky Fingers – “Sad Songs”