Stellastar 0903


rovi.MR0000418011 9/23/03 Used

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Review Text Stellastarr*'s self-titled debut album picks up where the band's Somewhere Across Forever EP and "Jenny" single left off, blending the post-punk of the late '70s and early '80s with the college rock of the late '80s and early '90s. As reviews of these releases have noted, traces of the Pixies, the Cure, Talking Heads, and other bands can be heard in stellastarr*'s music, but the problem is that while the band does a pretty good job of arranging these elements into a pleasant modern rock sound, ultimately the bandmembers don't have a style that they can call their own. Stellastarr* also has the misfortune of releasing its full-length in the wake of groups such as Hot Hot Heat and Interpol, bands that have carved out stylistically similar territories with more individual flair. For most of the album, the band sounds like it's still figuring out which sounds fit best: stellastarr* aims for a dramatically dour cast on "In the Walls," a Joy Division-meets-Cure-via-Interpol fusion that has some doomy beauty but falls short of the transporting mood piece that they want it to be. Likewise, the meandering "Moongirl" delves into dark, psych-tinged post-punk that nods to Pink Floyd as much as it does to Robert Smith and company. "Pulp Song," meanwhile, is so blatantly a poor man's version of that band's classic single "Common People" that it's equally brave and foolish to advertise it as such. Stellastarr*'s bouncy, bittersweet side fares better; the jerky, quirky pop of "Jenny" may be little more than a rewrite of the Pixies' "I've Been Tired," but it's still pretty enjoyable. "No Weather" and "Somewhere Across Forever" follow a similar formula with slightly less success, emphasizing a tendency in the band's writing to stretch good ideas out for too long. However, "Homeland" and the languid, limpid ballad "Untitled" suggest that stellastarr*'s music is gaining more maturity and subtlety. While the band still needs to develop more of its own sound, there's enough promise in stellastarr* to suggest that they might. ~ Heather Phares

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. In the Walls - 4:49
  2. 2. Jenny - 4:16
  3. 3. Million Reasons - 4:19
  4. 4. My Coco - 5:05
  5. 5. No Weather - 3:15
  6. 6. Moon Girl - 6:30
  7. 7. Somewhere Across Forever - 4:40
  8. 8. Homeland - 4:55
  9. 9. [Untitled] - 5:07
  10. 10. Pulp Song - 4:39

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