No, these Stones are not of the rolling persuasion. But they definitely rock. Releasing only two albums during their short existence, The Stones were a well-hidden part of the early 80s New Zealand lo-fi rock scene. Three Blind Mice is a compilation of their finest moments, coolest songs and their best efforts.
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- Three Blind Mice by The Stones
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It takes a bit of chutzpah to call yourself The Stones what with that moniker being the oft-used shortening of those Rolling ones. Still, these Stones deserve a place in the rock and roll back pages all of their own.
They emerged out of the Dunedin scene of early 80’s New Zealand in the wake of front runners like The Clean with a tougher sound than some of their contemporaries with none of the poetry and artistry of the likes of The Chills. Instead the Stones were a primal rock and roll force albeit a skewed one. This compilation of their short career has been put together by Dead C leader Bruce Russell and sits studio tracks next to live tracks, perfectly summing up their ragged charm. Opener ‘Gunner Ho’ is an eerie, typically Dunedin composition with slash and burn guitars and heavy nods to Television. The placing of a live version of ‘See Red’ disrupts any kind of flow immediately though ‘Mother/Father’ exemplifies their rudimentary playing which appears on the verge of falling apart.
They are discordant, the vocals waver off key with regularity but like a lot of NZ bands the whole is better than the sum of its parts. ‘Down and Around’ is superb, a grinding churning riff is intersected with the oddest of guitar tumbles that is sorta reminiscent of that on the Smiths ‘How Soon Is Now’ without sounding anything like it. In other words it creates an atmosphere that elevates the song into the stratosphere. It’s not all good though, the last few tracks are typical jokey garage rock affairs but the band were young and split not long after their debut release on the legendary Dunedin Double EP. Wayne Elsey went on to form the Doublehappys with Shane Carter before his life was cut short in a tragic incident which later immortalised in the incredible Shane Carter and Peter Jefferies song ‘Ranolph’s Going Home’.
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