Off Key with Eric D: Stellastarr* shines

Eric D'Orazio

Nowadays it seems like New York City has replaced London as the hub of music culture and the place of origin of countless new and innovative bands. Having already given us the likes of The Strokes and Interpol to pine over, NYC’s track record throughout the past four years has been all but outstanding. Yet in all honesty, this greatness is bound to become even more magnificent by means of a stellar quartet known as Stellastarr*.

Whereas The Strokes focus primarily on ’80s fashion and Interpol is tied up in philosophy, Stellastarr* is more centered around art, both on canvases and in their music. With their self-titled effort, released late last year, they procure a set of 10 gorgeous songs that display the highest artistry of vocal hooks and lyrical brilliance heard in recent history.

In respect to the album, its standout tracks include … all 10 songs. However, the first and foremost track on the list is “In The Walls.” Focusing on realizing one’s love for another, the song brings about thoughts such as “It took a while for me to know I am not alone,” as well as “I’m trying to be what you’re dreaming of.”

Though overall it remains quite a heartbreaking song, it becomes more efficacious by means of its staggering guitar and bass riffs that swirl around one another with great effect. With this set to mind, the truth is that “In The Walls” provides Stellastarr* with one of their strongest musical moments on record, but surely not their only significant song.

Should one be looking for a good time on Stellastarr*’s debut album, look no further than “My Coco.” Besides being the album’s latest single and most exuberant moment, the track exemplifies the feel good time that comes along at the band’s live shows by utilizing fantastic bass grooves and drum beats to provide a superb, dance-filled experience. In addition, the song’s lyrics are filled with praise, calling upon the greatness of “My Coco,” whatever that may be. Whether it is “in the summer, in the spring,” or “in public places,” Stellastarr* certainly have a good thing going on.

Despite the overall pleasantries and good times imparted throughout their debut album, Stellastarr* reach their lowest moment with the album’s penultimate track, the aptly titled “Untitled.” The song, primarily an acoustic driven piece about being captivated with someone whose name remains unknown, circles around how, “I’ll never express how I feel,” as well as “the loneliness of you and I.” This, put along to the song’s incredibly heartbreaking chorus of “what’s your name,” affords it a feeling of despair all its own, and allows it to be the album’s most moving track and a shining achievement for Stellastarr*.

After having listened to Stellastarr*’s relatively-new self-titled record, the truth of the matter remains that it quite literally was the most outstanding debut of last year. After all, it has 10 utterly brilliant tracks that stay definitive and in one’s head for inordinate amounts of time, all backed by four fervent musicians whose craft is unlike anything heard on the market today.

In addition, the record breathes new life into the NYC music scene, ensuring its popular continuation for years to come. It’s a real shame that the album went unnoticed to the public when it first came out, but that does not imply that the band won’t have another shot at greatness in 2004. In fact, it’s almost a given that they will make a great name for themselves. If their debut album is anything to go by, then Stellastarr* is truly headed for a bright future.