Not everyone gets Stroke 9’s brand of slightly warped, good-time modern rock. This could explain why the band was dropped from Universal following the release of their sophomore album, Rip It Off, after it failed to match the success of its predecessor.
Undeterred, Stroke 9 returns with All In, a terrific collection typical of the band’s style of straight ahead rock and left-of-center eccentricity. The powerful opener, “How Am I Gonna Know,” harks back to some of the more commercial material on Rip It Off and contrasts with the cleverly written, brilliantly-executed “Words To Live By.” The raucous “Run Away” is frenetic, while both “Set You Free” and excellent album closer, “Part’e,” are especially catchy. Elsewhere, the superb, quirky confessional “Rod Beck” and the frat party anthem “Fake Gucci Girl” are original and energetic.
Stroke 9 may not be to everyone’s tastes, but the band’s fresh and innovative approach certainly enlivens a genre in danger of becoming derivative.