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Stellastarr*


Review: Jack Foley

AS the hype builds to fever pitch ahead of the release of The Strokes' new album, Room on Fire, New York's other exciting band of the moment, Stellastarr*, seem content to go about their business in quieter fashion.

Everyone knows that The Strokes second album is going to be massive, but what of Stellastarr*'s first?

NME have hailed them as 'a dream of a band with nearly every element absolutely perfect', while Amazon has even dared to ask whether they could be the next Pixies?

Such a comparison is not mis-placed, for Stellastarr* flirt with that sound, being rooted in the 80s pop-punk revival that seems to have fired the imagination of the hip new indie crowd at the moment.

Yet, there is much more to them than merely jumping on the bandwagon, for they could yet pull the neatest trick yet, and emerge as one of the brightest lights to shine from that big city for quite some time.

Much of the pleasure in listening to Stellastarr* is ticking off the various comparisons/references that drive their sound.

Take, for instance, former single, Jenny, with its Smashing Pumpkins rock out finale; the Big Country-inspired guitars of My Coco, or the hopelessly Cure-based guitar rifts of A Million Reasons.

Lead singer, Shawn Christensen, flits vocally between the distinctive whines of some of the best frontmen in punk history, taking in John Lydon and Robert Smith, as well as Jarvis Cocker and, just occasionally, Billy Idol.

Yet his wilder tendencies are frequently reigned in by the sweet, lush vocal tones of bass player, Amanda Tannen, and the range of the guitars, which operate on a sweeping, vast scale.

It all works gloriously well, arriving like a short, sharp, adrenaline-rush of an album, that doesn't outstay its welcome.

Shining brightest is the debut single, Somewhere Across Forever, which still sounds as fresh as it did when first heard almost a year ago, while the chirpy Homeland, with its mesmerising guitar loops, and disco-flavoured drums, follows up like a care-free joyride of a record.

Even when they slow things down, for Untitled, they still manage to sound great, complete with hymnal organs, and hinting at a different direction, were they minded to throw in a few more ballads on future albums.

Yet, for now, it is the infectious enthusiasm of their unbridled energy will really embraces you - shaking you around and refusing to let go.

Make sure you catch on.

 

Track listing:
1. In The Walls
2. Jenny
3. A Million Reasons
4. My Coco
5. No Weather
6. Moongirl
7. Somehwere Across Forever
8. Homeland
9. Untitled
10. Pulp Song

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