Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart

Must Be Live

Gearle Records

While bands like The White Stripes can capitalize on the public’s fascination with the male/female duo, the formula does not guarantee instant marketing success for any old pair. Though Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart eagerly announce themselves as husband and wife repeatedly in their new album, Must Be Live fails to pull off any indication of such a charismatic or even vaguely amusing match.

Without even addressing the bizarre musical styling of the two lovebirds, the listener is confronted with the screeching, stomach-churning voice of the band’s lead singer, a voice strangely reminiscent of a cartoon chipmunk. The songs move from erratic country twangs to a sort of old-timey yodeling sound in a matter of minutes. Interspersed in these charming ditties, Stuart pops in with his loveable inane banter. Best of all, the album spans not only one disc but two just in case you haven’t had enough.

Although Earle and Stuart try to redeem themselves as a refreshing change from the pseudo-heavy metal sound of late (i.e. Papa Roach, Drowning Pool, etc.), their sometimes sarcastic, sometimes-sappy ballads still don’t provide a tolerable alternative.

Rating: 1 Star

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