Starflyer 59

Starflyer 59 (Silver)

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You wouldn't think this Riverside, CA trio could so easily overcome so many surface flaws. "Monterey" creeps into crappy Smashing Pumpkins debt; at least two cuts, including the opening "Blue Collar Love" (beware!) and "She Only Knows," flirt with metal even more than Swervedriver (though like that also great band, they're not metal); and as well, the band can slip into the bleak, dark, doom-and-gloom Goth sound as sure as if the Cure's Robert Smith produced. But you see, they sound a little like a lot of these things, but some of them are good (a nice, minor, MBV guitar-chord mangling and vocal sighing is also employed), and they rip-off no one, it's really an original sound. They're not rushed; they're alternatively languid and stomping, and they're as methodical as they are aggressive. Over top, Jason Martin's developed songs and effects-laden -- but always clear and strong -- vocals make everything signify big-time, a really strong presence (he's not buried in the mix). And when they hit the hammer in forward thrust, as in "Happy Days Are Here Again" (not the old song), "2nd Space Song," "Hazel Would," and "The Zenith," they zoom to the stratosphere. Rarely is a U.S. indie band this well-recorded, too, this is no cheap eight-track or basement 16! And the CD booklet is excellent (one page of great concepts and old photos per song). Now this is something.

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