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Alex Stickels: ‘Made From Scratch’ – imbued with road-tested tightness

After touring the world with several artists as their drummer, Alex Stickels pulled a Phil Collins/Dave Grohl and came home to write and front his own rock songs. ‘Made From Scratch’ is his debut EP, on which he was a one-man band, playing all the instruments, arranging the whole project, and stepping out front to sing all the songs. The EP sounds instantly familiar, imbued with both a road-tested tightness and the world-weariness of nouveau rock star. It’s custom-built to hold off the haters while Stickels figures out how to complete the full-length album.

Every song is performed so well; each is absolutely delightful to listen to. Alex Stickels has a wonderfully unique voice; in male singers, I want the voice to have character, and Alex’s definitely does. Here he maintains the illusion of carelessness and effortlessness while executing the tracks beautifully.

Sometimes an artist is simply too good not to make it. Alex Stickels may just be one of this rare breed. He is destined to be grasped by the just-off-mainstream as an alternative rock hero.

The album opens with the rather low key psychedelic track “Higher Highs” which features some stunning retro guitar riffs. Leading right into the brilliant “Radio Silence“. This song should spark a flurry of excitement in those who haven’t heard it, and when you hear it, you’ll understand why.

Slow and textured, the song displays all the sonic dimensions Alex Stickels is capable of – from mellow, understated bridges to rich and lush cinematic buildups.

Next up comes “Enrapt“. Another consistent and catchy track, which on any other album would be a stand out, or from any other band, would be lost amongst the better tracks. The entirety of the song is so wonderful you’ll not want it to end.

Call it alternative, call it art-rock, call it guitar music, it doesn’t matter. ‘Made From Scratch’ sounds wonderful, as it moves between being crunchy and edgy as well as melodic and mellow. I know it sounds like I’m bagging on this album completely, but I actually like it a lot.

The guitar parts interchange wonderfully, and even though they are not incredibly technically difficult, you would be very hard pressed to find an EP filled with so many catchy riffs as this one.

All in all, ‘Made From Scratch’ is definitely worth a listen. Anyone who has not heard this EP needs to, for it has the potential for anyone to pick it up and think that it’s a classic immediately. Simply put, Alex Stickels has every quality alternative and indie rock requires from its finest exponents and this EP is where they all come together.


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