From the opening ethereal sound of the guitar, to the final smash of the cymbal, “Wash Away,” the debut effort from Wisconsin rockers Book Club, is sure to catch the listener’s attention. And keep it. In an age of cookie-cutter bands with meaningless song lyrics, Book Club is an up-and-coming band that provides a light at the end of the tunnel in today’s music scene.
Book Club is the brainchild of Sam Sterk, whose heavy lyrics and crunchy guitar combine to create a very honest, soul-searching album. On the “Wash Away” EP, Sterk is backed up by fellow Midwesterners Aaron Swaagman (bass and drums) and Bill Kopf (drums on “Deanna”). The EP, a collection of songs put together over the past five years, was recorded and mixed by Sterk.
The title track sets the tone for what’s to follow, both musically and lyrically. The verses are restrained and allow the message to be delivered clearly. The emotion is poured out in the choruses; an outpouring that illustrates just how much of himself Sterk has put in to this project. Sterk says that this track is the answer to all of the songs on the EP. A listen to the rest of the tracks proves his point.
The punk rock influenced “Deanna” is sure to get the listener out of their chair. In this high-energy gem, Sterk paints a picture of how God-less our society has become. Sterk’s plea of “take it all away,” delivered amongst the crash of cymbals and driving guitars, is a message that’s prevalent throughout the entire EP.
Don’t let the laid back introduction to the next track fool you, as the middle of the EP is jolted forward by the hard-hitting, aptly titled “Forward.” With its confessional chorus (“I have a lot to say, a lot to lose, remained silent to protect my views”) and emotional delivery, “Forward” is sure to be a fan favorite.
The EP closes with the tracks “Under the Table” and “This is Everything”. “Table” is an upbeat, foot-tapper that tackles the non-upbeat issues of anxiety and privacy. Sterk sings “If we just put it all on the table, maybe we could be much more;” a sentiment that most people can relate to, but have trouble putting into action.
With the backdrop of a catchy bass line, “Everything” follows the lives of two individuals that need God’s guidance in order to turn their lives around. The last line does a good job in summing up both the song and the EP: “I need your change, I need it so.”
released June 12, 2009
Produced, Engineered, and Mixed by Sam Sterk
Drums on "Wash Away" engineered by Matt Brisolara and Sam Sterk
Mastered by Jimmy Jernigan
Drum editing by Brady Barnett (of Sound Mind Productions) and John Potts
Recorded in various basements and churches in Wisconsin and Tennessee
Mixed in Sam’s basement
Drums on “Wash Away” were played by Ian Dunham. Drums on “Deanna” were played by Bill Kopf. Drums on “Forward”, “Under the Table” and “This is Everything” were played by Aaron Swaagman.
Bass Guitar played by Aaron Swaagman.
All other instruments and vocals performed by Sam Sterk.
Original artwork by Bill Kopf
Layout and design by Mike Gorter
Special Thanks: My beautiful wife Brette for pushing me to complete this, Aaron Swaagman, Abby Swaagman, Sir W illiam Kopf, Ian Dunham,
Mike Gorter, Jimmy Jernigan, Matt Brisolara, Mom and Dad, Jordan Sterk, Ben Sterk, Nate Van Ee, Justin Douglas, Aaron’s ’67 Fender Bassman and his
Blue Collar Overdrive.
© 2009 by Sam Sterk. All Rights Reserved.
all rights reserved