Friday, July 25, 2008

Star -- Devastator (Previously unpublished 2007 review)

Star -- Devastator (Lovely Rebel)

This is fuzzy shoegazing music in the vein of The Jesus And Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. Star leans more towards the Chain, as the song structures are 100 percent pop, awash in swirling distorted guitars.

What makes the band striking is the lead vocalist, Shannon Roberts. She usually sings in her mid-range, but she can get way up there, evidenced on “Acting So Tough”. Her wailing voice and the dirty guitars make for a major textural contrast that is very enticing.

Star learned a big lesson from its predecessors -- while the texture is important, you still have to have the songs. Thus, strong melodies abound.

One prime example is on “Exploding Order”, which may have more in common with The Primitives then the shoegazers, but for one droning guitar part. A syncopated drumbeat pushes the swaying “No More Party” along -- the band throws a bit of glam into the reverb and ghostly, pretty vocals.

Roberts’s vocals not only contrast the music, but often are at odds with the bizarre insinuations of violence and doom she sings about, best exemplified on the track “Various Gun Designs”. In a couple of other spots, the band just wallows in the muck, and seems to enjoy it. I enjoy it too.

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