Not many math teachers readily namecheck Fugazi as a formative influence on their musical tastes. But then again, not many number-crunchers are Joe Stickley, who's gearing up to release his second full-length, The Eagle and the Pearl. Stickley's tunes on Pearl don't have much to do with the post-hardcore godfathers, save their shared commitment to lyrical thoughtfulness and precise arrangements. But they do take cues from classic rock, rustic twang and, yes, the blues, without resorting to nostalgia or cliché. Stickley's voice channels Bowie's falsetto-glam at times on the album especially on the very Young Americans-reminiscent "Lead Love" yet always seems to convey the sincerity and tireless work ethic for which he's known.
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