The Chinese Stars

Turbo Mattress

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This five-song EP is the debut from the Chinese Stars, a quartet that features vocalist Eric Paul and drummer Craig Kureck (both formerly of Arab on Radar) and guitarist Paul Vieira (formerly of Six Finger Satellite). The sound is no huge departure from what you'd expect from these Providence, RI, noise rock veterans, although compared to Arab on Radar, at least, this is more listener-friendly, and less shrill and confrontational. The lyrics, while still typical of Paul's sideways, borderline-nonsensical style, are also less potty-mouthed and are likely to be more digestible to most folks than Arab on Radar's tales of bed-wetting and sexual confusion. There is also more of an emphasis on repetitive, almost groovy bass-drum patterns as opposed to the choppy, stuttering rhythms favored on Arab on Radar's later albums. In any case, the strong point of this EP has more to do with the interplay between Vieira's guitar and Richard Ivan Pelletier's bass than any Arab on Radar similarities, best exemplified by the interlocking riff patterns on "Loose Traffic" (which also has some nifty cowbell drumming). The slow-motion groove of "Sick Machine" and the skipping-CD-style breakdowns on "Arson Hotline" are a couple of other highlights. This disc is actually a mini-CD that's shaped like a Chinese throwing star. Anyway, this EP is a promising start; it will be interesting to see how they develop on this sound.

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