Stingray Central is a singer/songwriter from Yorkville, IL. He played as a drummer and guitarist in other bands until deciding to embark on a solo project. Because of recording and mixing everything himself, his first EP Sleeping Quarters has a rough quality. The songwriting still shines through with songs focused heavily on lyrics and acoustic guitar.
Stingray Central claims influences from folksy singer/songwriters like Simon and Garfunkel to more alternative rock sounding bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead. Songs on Sleeping Quarters range from mellow, soft ballads to more aggressive rock sounds, although all are focused around the complex lyrics.
The album starts with “Streetlight Serenade” which has a very folksy, yet edgy vibe. The vocals are clear and understated, and although sometimes muffled, sounded well with the intricate guitar melodies. I wasn’t a fan of the clapping sounds in the background and found them distracting, but overall I still dug this song.
In the next few songs, Stingray Central’s songwriting ability is showcased, the lyrics show depth and versatility and the melodies are unique and interesting. The vocals were a little too much for me in “Bending the Truth” with a shouty sound that took away from the overall appeal. But he redeemed himself for me in “Summer Sun” which was my favorite track on the album. It was a soft, sweet song with pretty melodies and just enough falsetto to work. His vocals were much more subdued, which helped the quality of them shine through. Along with sweet lyrics and a perfect piano backdrop, this song worked perfectly.
“Dreaming” took the EP in a different direction with a darker sound, and sneering type vocals, reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys. The song lacked a little bit of dimension and I think would have sounded perfect with some drums and electric guitar, but I still liked it overall. The next couple of songs slowed it down a bit with sad lyrics and soft melodies. Ending with the title track “Sleeping Quarters” which a solid way to end the EP.
Sleeping Quarters shows a lot of promise and originality. I think with a more focused sound and more professional production value, we’ll be hearing more from Stingray Central.
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