Published May 01, 2003As one of a possible 12 steps to new rock success, the Stills played their hometown debut as the clock struck midnight at a Rialto theatre teeming with music and fashion industry scenesters, many of them entering their fifth hour of drinking. This launch of a fashion mag called Strut was instantly jammed with bodies seeking swag, sushi, booze and tunes. Local DJ Krista played predictable, non-offensive techno, as did Akufen, setting his experimental hat aside here. Then, finally, out came the Stills, four local boys who've shaken lots of New York hands and played Stateside and UK gigs with a number of hot New York bands. Montrealers will remember them as the Undercovers, but their new incarnation makes modern translations of Cure/Joy Division-era sounds with undulating bass, goth-pop guitars and overlying washes of reverb. They don't evoke Manchester as much as their friends Interpol do, nor do they sound like the Strokes, though they are apt to pose with pints and perfect rock star hair in front of floral walls. Up-tempo and downbeat, their songs and stage presence are pro and their approach is savvy, but it may be a case of too little too late. But it's never too late to dance to the electro/goth tunes of Tiga, who finally thawed the fashionista six whole hours into the Strut soirée.