Stefan & the Problematix - Stefan & the Problematix [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)

Stefan & the Problematix

Stefan & the Problematix [7-inch] (2009)

Machette Records

Stefan & the Problematix consist of Randy frontman Stefan Granberg backed by members of Regulations, "the Problematix." If I had to equate it to Randy, I would say it is closest to probably the band's Human Atom Bombs sound, or maybe something off of Welfare Problems. This isn't to say that the songs sound like they would fit on either of those releases at all. The songs are simply much less poppy than Randy the Band or You Can't Keep a Good Band Down and less punk than There's No Way We're Gonna Fit In or The Rest is Silence. However, they don't seem to have much interest in trying to be as catchy as the majority of the songs on Atom Bombs or Problems. Along with all this, the songs have a garage-y kind of sounding production.

I'm unfamiliar with the band Regulations, but after some quick YouTube-ing, the sound of this seven-inch is basically if Granberg fronted Regulations--with maybe a tad less hardcore. Still, from the perspective of a Randy fan, this sound doesn't totally come out of the blue. Randy has worn its influences on its sleeves and made it clear the members love rock ‘n' roll.

The first song, and the longest, is "In the City." It seems to be a semi-love song, but it is exactly what you would expect as a result of a guy like Granberg wanting to be in a band that rocked. It has lots of shouting and loud guitars, bass, and drums--and it does rock. It doesn't have any sort of building up opening, though; everyone is playing their instruments and Granberg is shouting the second the song starts. If you grew up in Sweden in the ‘80s idolizing the rock stars from America, this is the kind of song you would play.

The next song is "Ghost Riders" and I like it a little better. Granberg's vocals don't immediately go for shouting, but working their way up in loudness also works better. The song is a little faster than "In the City," but less loud. The lyrics are about ghost riders going out, and the apparent danger of being out while the ghost riders are also out. While the subject matter isn't the most inspired idea ever, whatever works for the band is fine. There is some nice chanting and some backing vocals that work and the lyrics don't get in the way. Overall, it is a nice, enjoyable song.

The third song is titled "S.S.D.D.," which, you will learn, stands for "same shit, different day," as it is sung. This song seems to want to walk the thin line between being a "cool" rock song and actually being personal. I realize singing about having feelings of unhappiness because of the "same shit" on a "different day" aren't exactly the most personal lyrics, but they are a nice change of pace after two songs more-or-less being sung about cool stuff. "Same shit, different day / I have to break away / Can't have it any other way now" is solid enough, and, musically, this is my favorite song. While the track definitely tries to rock the entire time, there is still some variety and changing-it-up going on. The backing vocals on this song are the best utilized on the seven-inch.

Overall, this is a fairly enjoyable release. As a fan of Randy, I'm a little disappointed in some of the lyrics because Stefan has shown he can write songs with a lot more meaning than these ones. However, it seems the main point of this release was to rock and have fun. And, for those purposes, it works. I'd recommend it to any Randy completists or Regulations completists. I would also recommend it as a consolation for anyone sitting around waiting for a new Randy album.