The Starfolk

The Starfolk

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Guitarist/vocalist Brian Tighe and bassist/vocalist Allison LaBonne make music together in the chamber pop-leaning group the Owls, so one might expect that their new project together, the Starfolk, might sound something like that, full of exquisite harmonies and well-made, very adult pop. One would be half right. Tighe was also a member of the late-'90s power pop group the Hang Ups, and he brings some of their heavy guitars and classic Beatles-inspired songwriting to the mix. The slow, sad Beatles songs, not the fast. happy ones. The band also serves as a reunion of sorts as former Hang Ups drummer Stephen Ittner is on hand to provide the beat. The duo also added a cellist, Jacqueline Ultan, to the band. The final product of the musical mix and match is a self-titled album that has all the deeply adult songcraft and sonic depth of the Owls, the classic chord structures and ringing guitars of the Hang Ups, all the sawing beauty a cello can provide, and Tighe and LaBonne's lovely voices that ache when sung separately and entwine richly when used in harmony. Add a darkly melancholy tinge that creeps in occasionally in the lyrics and sound, the resolutely midtempo tempos, and the arrangements that wrap around you like smoke from a campfire, and you've got a record that's all wrong for a beach party but perfect comfort for a night in contemplating the realities of life and love. There aren't a lot of laughs to be found here, but if you're looking for smart pop that's made by people who understand how to make music that touches and soothes you deep inside, the Starfolk have got you covered. - Tim Sendra

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