Over Stars and Gutters

Consider This Your Curse

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At first glance, Over Stars and Gutters appear to be just another in the long line of gravel-voiced beard-punk bands with an affinity for Hot Water Music (OK, only the lead singer seems to have a beard, but man, it's a healthy one). This isn't an inaccurate assessment, as their debut, Consider This Your Curse, is indeed full of all the emotional vocals and muscular guitars that HWM devotees expect and love. But despite the derivative nature of the songs, further listening proves the Oklahoma quartet to have the heart and power to rise above just being capable musicians. And thank goodness the music is way more enjoyable than the cover art. On an album full of defiance, restlessness, and heartache, "Written in Green Ink" and the bitter "Never Again" are some of the strongest tracks, with shout-along lyrics that are tailor-made for live shows. Elsewhere, extra editing would have been appreciated, since streamlining some songs into tighter melodic blasts could have kept the immediacy factor up throughout the whole album. That's a small complaint, though, and probably one that will work itself out as the band gains more experience playing and writing together. Over Stars and Gutters have a solid start here, and it'll be interesting to see how they grow and distinguish themselves from the punk pack with subsequent releases.

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