Starz

Brightest Starz: Anthology

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To some, Starz were Kiss' "little brother band," due to the fact that -- like the masked quartet -- Starz debuted in the 1970s, were managed by Bill Aucoin, hailed from the East Coast, and specialized in hook-heavy arena rock (heck, both acts even toured together). And to a certain degree, this is true. But upon hearing the 2000 compilation Brightest Starz: Anthology, Starz really were their own band -- capable of penning quite a few ditties that really should have stormed the charts (especially when they sporadically took a bit of a power pop detour). Highlights from all four Starz studio albums are here, and for admirers of smartly penned mainstream rock, the power pop nugget "Cherry Baby" and the mid-paced "Sing It Shout It" (both of which coulda/shoulda been mega-hits) surely won't disappoint. And like Cheap Trick early on, Starz manage to throw a few curve balls when it comes to subject matter in their tunes, straying from the expected "party rock" topics -- cases in point being "Pull the Plug" (which appears to be about "pulling the plug" on a lover on her deathbed) and "Subway Terror" (which details the risks of riding the subway, indeed no safe haven circa the '70s in N.Y.C.). Start with a tablespoon of Kiss, stir in a teaspoon of Cheap Trick, and add a dash of Aerosmith, and you get Starz, and Brightest Starz: Anthology is a fine intro to this often overlooked band.

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