Wanted a Girl
First Appeared at The Music Box, June 2000, Volume 7, #6
Written by John Metzger
Independent releases are a hit and miss proposition. Too often, there's a reason why a band is functioning without a label, and more often than not, the product is an inferior package that reeks of the "been there-done that" musings of a mediocre talent. However, if you spend enough time perusing the myriad of releases out there — mind you, this has become an overwhelming amount no thanks to the advent of cheap, digital home recording devices — every once in awhile, you stumble upon a diamond in the rough.
Such is the case with this gem of an album from Stewboss. On Wanted a Girl, the band is still deeply entrenched in their heroes and as such wears them a little too liberally on their sleeve. Yet these days, that can be said of countless major label releases as well, making this a moot point.
The fact of the matter is, Stewboss quite boldly stamps out the lineage between the Rolling Stones and Counting Crows with pristine accuracy. Along the way, the group manages to traipse through a bit of Tom Petty, Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen as well. Better still, while copping their luminaries, Stewboss pays them the highest tribute by doing it so damn well.
It's hard to hear Gregg Sarfaty sing the title track and not wonder if it's some lost song from the Springsteen archives. There's a darkness that creeps around the sad edges of his tale of aching heartbreak, not unlike the desolate loneliness and yearning for escape that once drifted from The Boss's Jersey shore refuge.
However, it's the Rolling Stones and the Counting Crows whose spirits are most fully embraced by the Stewboss sound. Straddling the lines between love and hate, anger and calm, and joy and sadness, Stewboss delivers a turbulently emotional album of roots-rock songs for a whiskey-swilling Saturday night. Sarfaty, who wrote all the songs, yearns for what he can't have — seeking love only to find his relationships dashed on the rocks of time. Yet, he awakes each day with a renewed sense of optimism that this day might be different. Someday, it just might be, but for now, he's discovered how lonely it is to be free.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2000 The Music Box