I first discovered Seattle’s Stickers a few weeks back as part of the Triple Six 7-Inch set and liked them enough that I immediately ordered their 2014 LP Swollen. I was bummed to learn that the band broke up, but glad that they left us behind some recordings.
In a Seattle Weekly interview around the time of Swollen‘s release the band’s style was described as no wave, and their riffs post punk. I definitely get the post punk part, which is what drew me to Stickers in the first place. And certainly they can go cacophonously off the rails in a no wave fashion, like they do on portions of “Outlet.” But there’s a whole metric ton of post punk all over this thing, smeared on nice and thick. The side A closer “Sacajawea” is the high point, a song with some stylistic variety that even in the transitions maintains a feeling of emotional intensity.
Swollen isn’t the easiest album to listen to – the music is a bit on the darker side and it can be lyrically intense. But it’s real, and that’s what’s important. Stickers may be gone, but they won’t be forgotten, at least not by me.