Unlike previous efforts, Mike Last feels The Stagger and Sway’s latest release, Fun and Games, is a rock ‘n’ roll record — a sound the quartet has moved toward since adding Brian Schierenbeck on lead guitar.
“Brian played our last CD-release show,” says Last, Stagger and Sway’s vocalist, rhythm guitarist and primary songwriter. “But he wasn’t on the record.” Last says Fun and Games has “a little more grit to it — a little more teeth. It’s more of a band record.”
Stagger and Sway’s evolved sound can be heard on tracks like the driving and infectious “Half a Mind” and “Fun and Games.” Last says “Fun and Games” is the track he’d play for someone if he could pick only one. “I have a lot of fun playing that,” he explains. “It moves around a lot vocally; the song does a whole lot in a small amount of time.”
That’s not to say that Stagger and Sway’s familiar “outsider country” sound is gone. The song “Siskiyou” is a swaying, slide-guitar-inflected tune — Last’s gentle tenor recounting the sad tale of the “new boy in town” who fell “into the Siskiyou and drowned.” The record also has quiet moments, such as the Mazzy Star-esque “Downpour.”
Fun and Games can be sampled on the band’s website, workingstiffrecords.com, and will be officially released Aug. 9. Until then, catch The Stagger and Sway with Copper and Coal 8:30 pm Friday, July 11, at Sam Bond’s; $5.