¡Fiesta Fiesta Fiesta Fiesta! | The Stiletto Formal

It’s been three years since the Stiletto Formal put out their first EP, “Masochism in the Place of Romance,” and the six tracks showed a band with infinite potential. A year later they put out a second EP, “This is My Boomstick.” Its four tracks shows a more refined band ready to finally break into the scene. Two years later, the Stiletto Formal have finally released their first full length, “¡Fiesta Fiesta Fiesta Fiesta!”

Working with producers Cory Spotts, the most sought after producer in Arizona, and Darrell Thorp, best known for his work producing Radiohead, Outkast and Beck, they carefully crafted 10 songs that together comprise what is undoubtedly the best album of 2008.

“¡Fiesta Fiesta Fiesta Fiesta!” leads with “We Are All the Muckrakers,” puzzling the listener with a western movie-sounding guitar riff that quickly explodes into a wall of crunching guitar, dramatic cello, pounding bass and percussion, and front-man Kyle Howard’s yelping falsetto. “Nightcap at the Santa Fe” is next, opening with a Flea-like bass riff that then breaks into much more of a grooving dance tune than you would ever hear out of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“6 P.M. Your Time” is the best example of the depth found in the Stiletto Formal’s songs. It opens with a bouncing synth bass line and drums that later follow. However, once Howard’s vocals and Neely’s cello line come into the mix the dance feel is jaded but your hips will not stop moving. The breakdown comes and turns it into an out-and-out party with fast drum and synth beats and distorted vocals. Throughout, the time signature constantly changes with the mood of the song, reflecting both the emotion of its lyrics and the way in which the listener should be moving.

“Sleeping Our Way to the Top” transcends the genres of rap and rock to create the best track on the album. Featuring Murs, a long-time underground rap favorite who has recently started achieving mainstream success with his latest effort “Murs for President,” it pairs Howard’s gritty vocals with the smooth flow of Murs’ delivery. Throughout the emotion of the lyrics is conveyed through the instrumentation as the clear dissonant guitar sound is paired with the smooth cello line.

“50 CCs of Anything Potent” is most representative of tracks on the Stiletto Formal’s prior efforts with its fast, almost shouted vocals and pronounced downbeats. “Naked Brunch” ends the album at more than 10 minutes long. Opening with a saxophone line straight out of bad (yet oh so good) 1980’s pornography, the song quickly deconstructs into the most dissonant on the album. The entire 10-minute-plus opus explores virtually every musical gesture in the Stiletto Formal’s repertoire in a jam-like manner that never loses focus of the original point (as is common with those annoying “jam bands” that ruined the term “jamming” for the rest of us).

“¡Fiesta Fiesta Fiesta Fiesta!” is the album of the year. It is their sheer talent that brought the best in the industry to work with the Stiletto Formal. Their collaboration with Murs, Darrell Thorp and Corey Spotts, as well as the buzz that surrounded the past two EPs has created an enormous amount of hype around this album. The album is definitely worth the hype. The Stiletto Formal may not be a household name yet, but it should be, and I am betting that, along with Murs, it soon will.