Arlo’s second release blows out the garage doors with unbelievable force and drips with harmonies and powerpop riffs that seem to be created from some sort of divine intervention.
Stab the Unstoppable Hero is loud, yet remarkably clear and concise, blatantly baring its ’60s and recent pop roots, but achieving that infectious sound better than anyone else. In some senses the songs are tried and true, just refined versions of its witty contemporaries, but a greater dynamic exists, setting this album apart from the vast indie pack. Imagine a hot, boring suburban summer, and the band down the street just got really good.
Arlo is not simply content with creating a great song – and pumping out another piece of hooks and melodies – they pace, ebb and make the listener hold out for the meat of the matter. The songs aren’t blatant pop offerings, they demand to be dissected and dealt with, never allowing for casual listening. The tracks fluctuate from calm, chugging, story-like orchestrations, to blaring, intensely concentrated punk anthems that inadvertently seep with Arlo’s sappy aesthetic, and overly aware sense of structure and intricate rhythm. The drums explode with a delightful intensity, always acknowledging its guitar lead, and articulating the subtle nuances that they cleverly set forth.
Stab the Unstoppable Hero is relentless. It just doesn’t stop with the typical indie serenades, but puts effort into the less obvious, subtler tracks. It is easy to skip tracks, show off the foundations of this particular record, but what one must do, as Arlo has, is to acknowledge the simpler, the less evident, and take a listen all the way through. This album carefully balances its own creations and its predecessors, producing a very good, well thought out piece of nostalgia.