Given that David Bowie invented rock and roll, in a very real sense Stellastarr* is everything a rock band should be, especially on the you’ll-love-it-at-once “My Coco.” The only drawback? Singer Shawn Christensen’s Goth-inspired vocals have an affected quality that sometimes places them somewhere between Roberts Smith and Goldthwait. But elsewhere, such as on the opener, “In These Walls,” their hushed tone can be both glorious and grim.

This is a good album, though disconcertingly reminiscent of something you could have heard on Modern Rock radio 12 years ago. Still, though their influences will be apparent to anyone over 20 (for one thing, when you title a track “Pulp Song”…), Stellastarr* is not a pastiche Polaroid of other songs and bands. They just seem to like many of those same songs and bands a lot, and they have many of the same strengths and weaknesses.

But I approve of what they’re doing and I want them to get even better at it.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Bobby Rush
    Bobby Rush

    Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History of Bobby Rush ( Omnivore Recordings). Review by James Mann.

  • Geezër

    Geezër brought their old-school show all the way from their Miami rest home, and Julius C. Lacking thinks they were quite spry.

  • Bully

    Bully greets Orlando with apathy and anger toward one of its theme parks. Jen Cray smiles and thinks, “Man, this band would have fit in well in the nineties!”

  • Luther Dickinson
    Luther Dickinson

    Blues & Ballads: A Folksinger’s Songbook: Volumes I & II (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Conway

    Big Talk EP (Self-Released). Review by Jen Cray.

  • Freakwater

    Scheherazade (Bloodshot Records). Review by James Mann.

  • The Haymarket Squares
    The Haymarket Squares

    Light It Up. Review by Carl F Gauze.

  • Ani DiFranco
    Ani DiFranco

    Years pass, and so do our legends, but one constant remains: there are always artists living and breathing that are worth your time and attention. Ani DiFranco is a major one, according to Jen Cray and a whole legion of fans.

  • Javier Escovedo
    Javier Escovedo

    Kicked Out Of Eden (Saustex Media). Review by James Mann.

  • Eszter Balint
    Eszter Balint

    Airless Midnight (Red Herring). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

From the Archives