steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Stretching FM

"What If I Stopped Breathing?" CDEP

Second Chance

Genres: emo, indie rock

Stretching FM
5160 SW 20th St.
Plantation, FL

April 6 - 13 2002

Call it emo, call it pop-punk, call it whatever you want, but Stretching FM know what they're doing, even if what they're doing isn't all that great.  It isn't bad, either - it's kind of in the middle.  Let's examine the evidence.

"In My Youth" is a catchy little number that's reminiscent in a more-than-coincidental way to Sunny Day Real Estate, except with a more youth-oriented bent.  It's emo in its purest form - angst-ridden vocals, depressing guitar melodies, and hey, there's even some emotional keyboard playing in there as well!  Aside from the fact that it's easy to poke fun at (all emo is), the song is actually pretty good, standing out as the best of the five on this ep.

"A Fall Project" is more of the same, really, except with a bit more charge in the guitar and a bit more teen angst in the vocals. The lyrics about a failed relationship don't help things either, although the band manages to avoid being too sappy.  While those with little tolerance for the whole emo scene will explode in fury while taking the song in, fans of the genre will find themselves quite at home.

"Savannah", which follows the two songs, is like a failed "Fall Project".  Instead of containing itself, it goes in for the full-on angsty sap deluxe and, as a result, is just too bloody whiny for my taste.  And the lets-try-to-be-poetic-but-fail lyrics don't help matters.

Altogether, What If I Stopped Breathing? is a very mixed affair.  While it has some good parts, it is also flawed in numerous ways.  And while this may pose a problem for casual listeners, emo fans will surely find a lot to like in the band.  And, hey, this is their first release; even though it's flawed, it shows quite a bit of promise for the future.  Stretching FM have musical talent, they just haven't quite reached their highpoint yet.


Matt Shimmer