Michael Rank & Stag's Deadstock | Record Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Michael Rank & Stag's Deadstock 


The older you get, the more tenuous rock's obsessions with extended adolescence and rebellion can feel. That's an implicit lesson of Michael Rank's move from the grimy, Stones-heavy oomph of Snatches of Pink to the understated, circumspect acoustics of Stag three years ago. For Rank, the fight was suddenly less important than the feeling.

The counterpart to last October's Mermaids, Deadstock is Rank's third album with Stag in less than two years. Where Mermaids was a bitter, bereft breakup, Deadstock is the archetypal finding-my-way-alone follow-up—less emotionally pitched but deeper and more searching. Rank looks to "Burn the Page," find a way to quiet his "Idle Hands," and worries painfully that it's a "Little Late for Me."

Like the Wizard of Oz, Rank's stature is smaller without the shield of a rock 'n' roll curtain. As his hushed croon pushes against pedal steel wail, trilling mandolin and mournful fiddle, the once-cocksure frontman seems more vulnerable, open. In this diminished state, he actually finds more power.

There's a sweet Sunday morning vibe as Rank wonders why things fail on the wonderful "This World on Fire." The Band-like ballad "The Stars Were Brighter" opens with a rainbow, but Rank quickly warns "things can change here without warning." This sense of regret-laden acceptance crests during "Son," a slow-dragging strummer. "I did all I could ... [but] some things are better unopened," he offers. "Don't fight the grain in the wood."

Deadstock's true strength lies primarily in how its pieces cohere. Taken together, the songs evoke a quiet and grey landscape, offering more promise of dawn than actual light. After years of decadent bluster and life blunder, Rank sounds fortunate to have found a place of steady if hard-won resolve.

Label: self-released

This article appeared in print with the headline "On hardcore pranksters, hip-hop revivals and more."


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Record Review

Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Love it! All the songs are beautiful!

by Jon Champion on Record Review: The Return of The Veldt, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation, Is Great (Record Review)

This release will be available Friday December 4th here:


Thanks! …

by Scott Phillips on Review: The electronic excellence of GNØER's Tethers Down (Record Review)

You should have let Currin write this. One of the best singers on earth and these were your observations? sounds …

by Remo on Record review: Jeanne Jolly's A Place to Run (Record Review)


© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation