A pop-rock band consisting of a half dozen members could easily devolve into cluttered, unlistenable noise or same-y blah. Fortunately, Starlight Girls avoid both extremes on their debut LP, Fantasm. The Brooklyn-based sextet makes shimmering, bright synth pop that could easily be played in jazz lounges.
Starlight Girls step away from the spooky grooves of their five-song self-titled EP into tightly controlled, smooth sounds for their full-length. Nevertheless, the focus of Fantasm lies with the Siren-esque vocals led by frontwoman and keyboardist Christina B. and fellow keyboardists-singers Sara Mundy and Isabel Alvarez. The vocals lure listeners into pleasant waters without drowning in cloying conventions. Guitarist Shaw Walters, bassist Tysen Arveson, and drummer Josh Davis provide the bones and support for the 10 tracks.
Whether they’re breathlessly cooing in the opening “Intrigue” or whistling in the spritely “Lodestar,” the three women’s voices blend into each other smoothly just like their keyboard lines. Conversely, one of the most interesting tracks, the slippery, sneaking “Cobra” features no words but sweetly sung “woo woo woo” interspersed with a chorus, of sorts, of “ha ha ha.”
While Fantasm is a polite synth-pop album, there are two blood-pumping tracks smack dab in the middle. Christina B. repeats “I want a hero!” over the stompy, propulsive beat of “Hero” and the snaky, staccato guitar chords of “Inhibitionist” explode into a super-catchy keyboard-based chorus. The last half of Fantasm showcases layered yet unfussy tunes culminating in the funky disco-bound “Fancy.” The entire LP makes you believe Christina B. when she sings “Baby/ I got it/ I can sing it.”