This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
If you’ve heard their riff-rockish single Further Again — or seen the theme-park video featuring lanky, dreadlocked frontman Julian Taylor — you might peg this Toronto quintet as modern-rock, Lenny Kravitz wannabes. Not guilty.
Dig a little deeper into this decent debut disc and you’ll find several more layers to their personality. Turns out Further Again, the leadoff track, is also the heaviest track; the rest of these 13 tunes conjure up adjectives like moody, rootsy, tasteful and understated, with the band settling into laid-back grooves, strumming acoustic guitars and singing sha-la-la choruses. Far from Xeroxing rockers like Kravitz, StagX (as they call themselves) owe a greater debt to the likes of Neil Young (especially in the loping electric guitar lines of tracks like When the Morning Comes) and The Band (at times, Taylor’s plaintive, keening voice has an eerie resemblance to Richard Manuel). If there’s a fault here, it’s a lack of focus — songs like A Million Works Of Art, San Francisco and Old Man Sitting By The Fire are catchy as hell, but don’t seem much more than the sum of StagX’s influences. When they find their own voice, they might truly be staggering.