With their debut full-length album, Beautiful Nowhere (Anthem Records), Toronto-based alternative rock band, Stuck On Planet Earth, present their take on love, lust and life in a way that's unvarnished and utterly honest.
Produced by Steve Molella of Finger Eleven, Beautiful Nowhere showcases a truly inimitable sound a seamless marriage of pop/R&B melodic sensibilities and screaming rock and roll moments fueled by the band's shared alt. rock influences.
The result is a raw and revealing set of tunes that display bassist/vocalist, Al Capo's, guitarist/vocalist, Adam Bianchi's, and drummer Andrew Testa's substantial chops as songwriters and players in equal measure.
Their lead single, "Rising", sums up the ethic that's driven the band since day one with the line, "I won't back down until the devil starts to kneel."
"‘Rising' was the first song we wrote for the album," Bianchi says. "It's about perseverance and the feeling that something was coming around the corner. That's what's always kept us going."
For the band, communicating honestly about the emotions and challenges everyone deals with trumps pretty words and sly hints – every time. "We've never been particularly metaphorical writers," Bianchi continues. "We're not about being poetic or flowery, and we may say things that make some people uncomfortable, but we're realists."
"We're not making music for one type of audience. We want to connect with everyone and we don't shy away from singing about things everyone feels," Capo says, using the song, "Undercover" – written about the loss of his father – as an example. "That was difficult to write about, but it's something that everyone goes through and anyone can relate to."
"That's what gets us going, always, real human emotion and experience," Bianchi adds, referencing "Animals" and "Skin Talk," which offer a candid take on overwhelming lust without apology.
It's the same ethic they apply to every song on Beautiful Nowhere, and nowhere more so than on "Fever (Higher Than The Drugs)" and "Serotonin" – tracks that are informed heavily by the occupational hazards of life on the road.
"It's the kind of lifestyle that can play hell with your sense of who you are and what's important," Bianchi says. "So struggling with self-identity is a big theme on Beautiful Nowhere as well. Touring is like living in a circus for months at a time. Then we get home and back to routine, but we're still looking for that high and trying to get back to it."
That's a high Stuck On Planet Earth are intimately familiar with. Since founding in 2007 in Vaughan, Ontario, they've logged thousands of hours on stage and uncountable miles on the road, beginning that same year with what they call The Backpack Tour.
"Before we ever recorded we did that for a year. We'd show up unannounced and uninvited at high schools in Ontario with acoustic guitars, a djembe, and a camera," Bianchi says. Teachers – and occasionally the police – booted them off campus, but they always came back, gaining fans that to this day still come out to their shows.
As their audience grew the band toured more widely, Capo says, "For a few years we'd hit Ontario, Quebec, and the Northeastern US once every two or three months, and then we started doing full North American tours."
Being able to play acoustically, anywhere and at a moment's notice, also helped the band make friends at college and satellite radio across North America, and to get rotation for early songs like "Fast Forward," which spent eight consecutive weeks at #1 on CBC Radio 3's Top 30 Countdown.
Since then, Stuck On Planet Earth have released four EP's and seven singles, landed regularly on the Canadian iTunes Alternative and Canadian Rock/Alternative charts, gained play on The Verge (XM), Aux TV, CBC and CFNY 102.1 The Edge, and shared the stage with artists including Finger Eleven, Weezer, The Offspring and Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts.
Featuring huge melodic hooks, deep harmonies and razor tight performances that can only be achieved by years of relentless touring, Beautiful Nowhere showcases Stuck On Planet Earth's deft ability to communicate the messy, real life truths of life bluntly and straight up. But it's also a testament to the band's collective determination to face those truths, and overcome any obstacles they present without backing down.
"Through hard times and good times we just keep going," Testa sums up. "We've gone head to head with each other, we've fought, but we're like brothers. And the fact we always knew what we wanted to say, all have the same end goal, and constantly push each other to be better, keeps us moving forward."