Review: 311 – Stereolithic

Review: 311 – Stereolithic


311 – Stereolithic
311Track Listing:
1.) Ebb and Flow
2.) Five of Everything
3.) Showdown
4.) Revelation of the Year
5.) Sand Dollars
6.) Boom Shanka
7.) Make it Rough
8.) The Great Divide
9.) Friday Afternoon
10.) Simple Truth
11.) First Dimension
12.) Made in the Shade
13.) Existential Hero
14.) The Call
15.) Tranquility

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: March 11th, 2014
Official Website: 311 Website

Artist/Group Background:
With a career spanning nearly 25 years, 311 have established themselves as a professional touring act, that relies heavily on their dedicated solid fan base to keep their constant momentum flowing. This quintet of long time friends continue to break ground with every album they put out and push the genre lines. Over the years, 311 has developed an incredible touring schedule, bringing a variety of bands on the road to support them such as, Snoop Dogg, Matisyahu, Ziggy Marley, The Offspring, and Sublime with Rome, to name a few. 311 have put on festivals (PowWow Festival), hosted music cruises (311 Cruise), and throw a huge party and concert for the past few years celebrating March 11, or 311 Day. Their first fully independent release on their own label, the current release from 311, marks their 11th studio album.

Album Review:
Stereolithic, the first release by 311 in over 3 years, seems to be just what the long time fans were waiting for. The last couple albums seemed to fall flat, but I believe Stereolithic has potential to be one of the best in their catalog.

Stereolithic is classic 311. Although there are some areas of the album that venture into different sounds, the core of Stereolithic will resonate with old and new fans alike. The signature Tim Mahoney guitar heavy sound, aligned with the vocals from both Nick Hexum and SA Martinez, and the solid foundation of P-Nut and Chad Sexton rounding out the rhythm section, together create a sound that is uniquely 311. The diverse tempos and sudden left turns in this release make it an interesting and engaging listen.

What I have always liked about 311, both in their album offerings and live shows, is the clarity of the recordings and live productions. I enjoy being able to easily pick out each of the instruments and vocals in the mix, and clearly hear them. One thing you can count on with 311, is that their album production is top notch. The sound is crisp and balanced in a live setting as well, which enhances the listener’s experience all around.

Diving into an album, the first thoughts I tend to have for any album, are regarding how the songs might translate in a live setting. With the exception of a few tracks, this album is exactly what I think of when I think about the 311 concert sound. The hybrid of styles from rock, hip-hop, melodic funky pop, and reggae, are all there on this one.

The high-energy first single from the album, “Five of Everything”, is a perfect choice to hook you into this album. The song has a unique heavy rocking intro and a lyrical message pointing out materialism, but also a reminder to keep it simple. A danceable groove emerges and sets a good tone for the album.

The song “Revelation of the Year” is an excellent example of mixing new 311 sounds with the classic ones. Lyrics that breathe positivity and the cerebral flows by SA Martinez, are standouts on this track. “Sand Dollars” is reminiscent of 311’s ultra hit “Amber”, with a similar guitar sound at the onset, and a powerful guitar break towards the end.

The strongest songs on the album are “Made in the Shade” and “Boom Shanka” in my opinion. These two tracks are vastly different, but really show the true colors of the diversity of the sounds that this album brings.

Overall, this album is easily one of their best in the past 10 years. Being a 311 fan for the past 20+ years, I can honestly say, this is the album long time fans have waited to hear, for quite some time. 311 is back, and these tracks are just itching to be played live. That’s perfect, because that is right where 311 is most comfortable.

Written & Reviewed By: Matthew Morrissey

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]