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.


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