Stairwell - The Sounds Of Change (Cover Artwork)


Stairwell: The Sounds Of ChangeThe Sounds Of Change (2003)
Hopeless Records

Reviewer Rating: 2

Contributed by: maverickScott
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Jimmy Eat World, Jimmy Eat World, Jimmy Eat World. There you go, there's your stinkin' review. This band mimics, virtually note for note, Jimmy Eat World's breakthrough 2001 album "Bleed American," as well as any other emo-turned-pop band of the same ilk. Singers Jonathan Caro and Zak Shultz im.
iTunes StoreAmazon

Jimmy Eat World, Jimmy Eat World, Jimmy Eat World.

There you go, there's your stinkin' review. This band mimics, virtually note for note, Jimmy Eat World's breakthrough 2001 album "Bleed American," as well as any other emo-turned-pop band of the same ilk. Singers Jonathan Caro and Zak Shultz imitate JEW's Jim Adkins in virtually every track on this CD. The guitars are palm muted in every spot you'd think for them to be, the bass drops to that low D exactly when you'd want it to, and the drums are painfully rudimentary, just like you'd figure for a band of this caliber.

The album does start off promisingly [minus the ridiculously pointless 10 second intro track] with "Disaster," a slow, hook-laden jam that just slightly extends it's welcome with one too many repeats of it's chorus. At first listen, you're liable to say something like "man, this song is good! It's like Jimmy Eat World meets even poppier stuff like the All-American Rejects or something! I hope the rest of the album is as good as this song!" Unfortunately, with each subsequent listen, you know that nothing gets any better after that track.

"All These Years" starts off with just quiet bass and vocals, and conjurs up images of Brad Nowell of Sublime, if only for a few seconds [until the rest of the band ruins it by trying to rip off Weezer for the umpteenth time this album]. Track 9, "Familiar Streets," starts off sounding like JEW's "Bleed American" with vocals that try too hard to sound angst-ridden [hence falling flat on their face] until an out of place guitar solo makes the song sound like something of Fuel's latest album. Weird, I know.

But what's even *weirder* is that this album came out almost two years ago on Takehold Records. Why on earth would Hopeless sign this band and then simply re-release a year-and-a-half old record? Why would the band even let them? It makes absolutely no sense to me, and further reduces this album to being worth little more than the cardboard and plastic that it's constructed out of.


Breathless Hi Med Low

Stream the album here


Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (April 1, 2003)

Pacific Standard Time was a GREAT album, pretty rockin

ommaddon (April 1, 2003)

This does sound like Jimmy Eat World....softer at times. And whoever said this should be rated higher because the band members are "nice"...thanks. I got a nice little laugh. this is generic, generic, generic.........

- Jonathan

Anonymous (April 1, 2003)

Pop rock about relationships bore me.

Anonymous (March 31, 2003)

everclear what?

waste_elite (March 31, 2003)

i smiled once


it sucked

Anonymous (March 31, 2003)

This was one of my favorite albums when it first came out, and I just listened to it in its entirety. I question whether the reviewer here has even heard it - it doesn't sound anything like JEW, and "Familiar Streets" doesn't sound a BIT like "Bleed American." There are no aggressive sounding songs on the album, period, in fact. This is all about ultra melodic radio friendly pop rock and roll - there's no emo, JEW, or Weezer factor at all. Buy this album if you ever smile.

Anonymous (March 31, 2003)

i think its funny that everyone is doing so much arguing over a band thats so average

waste_elite (March 31, 2003)

they've got a song called boxcar?

what the fuck? i'm telling blake.

Kurt_F (March 30, 2003)

Scott: I never meant the fact that they were nice had anything to do with thier music, however, knowing their personalities, it does allow me to understand where their music is coming from. Besides, I like The Get Up Kids, and they are huge dicks.

And to the other dude: Please don't tell me to open my mind and listen to "other music"...I'm not going to sit here and defend the diversity of the music I listen to, just take my word for it. Wait, no, I will. 3 of my favorite bands are Rainer Maria, The Suicide Machines, and Starflyer 59. I play in two fully funtioning bands; one is ska, and one is atmospheric indie-rock. I review cd's for punkbands.com. I'm sorry, you are right, all I listen to is Thursday and JEW. (I don't even own a Thursday album, and all I own from JEW is "Static Prevails") Dur, I hate defending myself. I do know what you mean by everyone being like "My band sounds like Jimmy Eat World" though. Holy crap, last year there was an explosion of kids starting "emo" garage rock bands after they heard Bleed American, pathetic. When Thursday became popular, they thought screaming was ok all of the sudden, mind you these were the same people that a year before heard me listening to Grade and said "All they are doing is screaming, thats gay"

I hate everyone.

Anonymous (March 30, 2003)

It doesn't even matter that they started writing the material for this album 3 years prior to recording it. Even Pacific Standard Time had this same style to it. Simple riffs, catchy melodies. They played in drop D then, and they play in it now. Although this new album obviously has better production on it, which is probably where you're drawing your narrowminded Jimmy Eat World bullshit from.In fact, when I first got my copy of PST, I thought they sounded a lot like Weezer. And I don't mean that the singer tried to sound like Rivers Cuomo or that the guitars sounded like wacky synthesizers. I'm saying that they had great, catchy songwriting.

Anonymous (March 30, 2003)

scott, you can say that you are rating it by what is on the album, but you aren't. you are rating it based on another band's album.

Anonymous (March 30, 2003)

Should we open our minds to the mundane, boredom of EVERY BAND TO COME OUT LATELY? I mean, come on. Everywhere I look I see fashion kids or "indie-rocks" wearing skin tight T-shirts trying their darnest to hit those high notes.
Gotta love those bands though.
"What kind of band are you?"
"We sound like Jimmy Eat World" or "We sound like Thursday" or (and I love this one) "We sound like a cross between Jimmy Eat World and Thursday."
Open your mind to a new genre of music, buddy.

maverick (March 30, 2003)

You didn't answer my question, Kurt. Why should I care how nice the guys in the band are when I'm supposed to be judging the music, and the music only?


Kurt_F (March 30, 2003)

You are really stuck on yourself.

maverick (March 29, 2003)

Since when does it matter if a band is nice or not? All people are generally nice, good people to *someone* out there, why on earth should that affect my review of the music they make?

I listen to an album. I rate the album based on what is contained on the album. End of fucking story.


Kurt_F (March 29, 2003)

This is a great cd. Go ahead and accuse them of hearing a few JEW demos before they started writing this album 3 YEARS AGO, it is irrelevant. It just so happens that there are a lot of similarities. This band is awesome, the three guitars provide a big rich sound, and Jonathan and Zak's voices blend together very well.

You should check out thier first cd "Pacific Standard Time", it's really good too. Download "Hearts and Chevy's" "Outer Space" "Do You Remember" and "End of Day" if you are interested.

These guys put on a fun show and are one of the nicest bands I've EVER met. Be nice people.

And so what if this cd isn't hard enough or it's too poppy. They are a power-pop rock and roll band, get over it. Open your mind and give them a chance.

Anonymous (March 29, 2003)

You guys on punknews need a zero rating for albums. 1 isn't low enough for this record. The only good bands left on hopeless records are mustard plug, digger, and atom and his package. thrice left to a major label, the weakerthans moved to epitaph, commonrider broke up, and avengesevenfold is terrible. Stairwell just doesn't add up to previous hopeless bands and never will.

A good review of the record if I may say...

Take the "stair" out of stairwell and fill the "well" w/shit.

evildeadalive (March 29, 2003)

I like Jawbreaker's 'Boxcar' a little better. And by a little I mean a lot.

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

JEW didnt invent pop/rock music. Comparing these guys to JEW is like having listen to your roommate say every pop-punk band sounds like Blink 182. Just because one band becomes popular doesnt mean that everyband after them in the same genre copied them, chances are that both bands write from the same roots. (Pop-punk normally being the Descendents, pop/rock being Beatles, Rollings Stones, etc). Ill give you the headphone thing though.

maverick (March 28, 2003)

You guys are dumb. Jimmy Eat World had been touring on the material that would be on "Bleed American" for some time before the album. Demo and live MP3s had been circulating for almost a year before the album came out [I remember downloading the title track and "Sweetness" in September of 2000]. Odds are, if the people in this band were a fan of JEW [and I'll bet my CD collection that they are], they had probably heard the direction this band was going in and they ran with it, too.

In other words, shaddupayoface.


Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

and how long have they had those shirts?

and how long has this album been out?

quit with the damn jimmy eat world shit already. it doesn't add up.

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

Is it Jimmy Eat World that has a pin with headphones around their name?

- Scott
(Hint, look at the cover)

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

for reference:
Bleed American came out July 17th, 2001
The Sounds of Change came out August 14th, 2001

if it was the reverse, would you be claiming that jimmy eat world copied off of stairwell? your review was crap.

this album is decent.

maverick (March 28, 2003)

To laco3000:
Don't waste your money buying this album new. I'm currently selling my copy on amazon.com for a mere 7 dollars. Go buy it from me.


civperc (March 28, 2003)

haha awesome review, honestly. and what the HELL is up with the barcode as part of the album design? it only fills space, much like the music on the album fills time.

grade for Stairwell: F

laco3000 (March 28, 2003)

This is the worst review I have ever read. One big thing the punk rock community needs to do is not only diversify stylistically but also to appreciate those artists who, although similar in style to others have that special aspect of greatness in them. Yes, Stairwell sounds like Jimmy Eat World, but what the heck is wrong with Jimmy Eat World? Stairwell is still trying to expand their sound and make some truly catchy well constructed tunes on this album not to mention their past work. It is kind of goofy that this is a two year old album on a new label but Takehold didnt have as effective a distrobution as Hopeless does. This band definately has potential to move towards great things, whether they sound like someone or not. In case you havent noticed, every band you listen to sounds like SOMEONE so suck it up. And while you are at it, check out Stairwell again, they are good. I dont own the album yet, but I have the mp3s and intend to buy it soon, Im positive its worth the money.

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

great album...crappy review (it's not because i disagree it's because the entire premise that the review was based on, about comparing the album to that JEW album, makes no sense due to the mathematics pointed out below)

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

someone that can draw comparisons from Fuel's new album should no longer be allowed to review music on this website

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

that streaming thing doesn't work

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

so it is 2003...and this was supposed to be released 2 years ago (i.e. 2001)...how exactly when they wrote the album would they have been copying an album that came out at the same time??...hmmmm, mysterious

pope_schlomo (March 28, 2003)

i'm sorry but the band name is terrible. reminds me of the project housing staircases in my building.

(14 floors of red doors with yellow walls)

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

great review, bravo. - bigjerk

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

Scott is just brutal lately. I kinda like it.


Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

previous comment by ThisIsNotEmo

Anonymous (March 28, 2003)

a good pop/rock CD. This album was released 2 years ago, and was written 3 years ago, so take that into consideration before saying they're ripping off the current scene. It was re-released despite its age, because it is a very well written pop CD that many people havent heard. The CD is not well-circulated and there is no point releasing new material if the old stuff hasn't even been promoted.

maverick (March 28, 2003)

Oh yeah, I almost forgot:

The sounds of change? More like the sounds of EVERYTHING ELSE OUT THERE RIGHT NOW.

The end.


inagreendase (March 28, 2003)

you dont see too many Shultz's. they always spell it with a c (Schultz), bastards. My grandpa took out the c so it would be easier to fill shit out. Much like this album! ohhh

by shit i meant forms and papers when he was living in pennsylvania.

Exclusive Streams


Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Managing Editor

Adam White

Contributing Editors

Kira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile Mark Little

Copy Editor

Adam Eisenberg Britt Reiser

Podcast Producer

Greg Simpson


Aubin Paul

ISSN 1710-5366

© Copyright 1999-2013 Punknews.org

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us About Punknews.org

Other Places to Go