A New North Woods Legend

There are many myths, legends and stories that come from the North Woods of America. The wood spirit of Wendigo which could only be seen when facing it head on…the little people who lived among the trees and distracted many a traveler…and, of course, that giant bearded man whose pet was on Ox named Babe.With no need for any hammers from gods, The Stereo Pirates are wielding the full power of Paul Bunyan’s Ax, poised to make their mark in the musical zeitgeist of Minneapolis and beyond.

When I first heard them play a few weeks ago at the Nomad World Pub on the West Bank, the first thing that struck me was how catchy and accessible their music sounded. The song “Fall Back Man” is a great example of this.

The pen of lead singer and chief lyricist Bryan Pertinen is matched only by his voice that cuts through the coldest of North Woods winters, soothing the scenesters as if they were in front of an open flame. Fire continually flies from the fingers and fret board of lead guitarist Jon Wefel as he takes his flower covered flock on many Kesey-esque journeys.

Yet the key to this voyage into pure pop heaven lies in Bryan Rubbelke‘s black and white ivories that happily dance for the various denizens of pubs and clubs, scooping them all up for the ride. The rhythm section of Mark Thoreen (bass) and Jeremy Krueth (drums) provide the kind of foundation from which aural skylines are constructed in Rock City, USA.

The Stereo Pirates have just released their self titled debut and it is a corker. It’s been in constant rotation on my iPhone, my home stereo, my computer and even my minivan as I haul kids around town. In fact, I can imagine soccer moms around the country re-embracing, and perhaps re-imagining, Twin Cities Pop with tracks like “Blue Eyes”, “Crooked Smile,” and “Painted Ladies.” The latter track nods wonderfully to Motown with a totally fab horn section that actually drove me to skipping as I was working out at the gym the other day. And I can’t help but chuckle at the obvious Zep influenced “She Cut Me.” This one gets my son’s nod for best track of the album as he always yells at me to crank the van stereo when it comes on. “Rock and Roll should be LOUD, Dad,” he reminds me and that’s exactly how this tune should be played.

But the album’s true gem and the one that will ultimately write their fire in the sky is “Take Me Home.” Ranking right up there with “Fix You” by Coldplay and “Bedshaped” by Keane, “Take Me Home” is the classic rock anthem in every sense of the word. I can already see former cigarette lighters and now cel phones lighting up arenas as this is one of those show closing songs that will simultaneously existing at every point in music history-adding another mythic and brilliant note to the infinite lexicon that comforts me every single moment of my life.

The Stereo Pirates will be playing live at the Fine Line Music Cafe on Thursday, March 8th. If you live in the Twin Cities area, I highly recommend seeing this band live. Click here to friend them on Facebook for all their latest news!