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Starsabout - 2016 - "Halflights"

(48:41, Progressive Promotion Records)


****+
     

TRACK LIST: 

1. Halflight 6:06
2. Every Single Minute 6:06
3. The Night 4:55
4. Black Rain Love 7:02
5. Escaped 5:48
6. Sway 5:02
7. 20 000 Miles 5:47
8. Bluebird 7:55

LINEUP:

Piotr Trypus - vocals, guitars
Tomasz Kryjan - guitars
Piotr Ignatowicz - bass
Sergiusz Pruszynski - drums 

Prolusion. Polish band STARSABOUT was formed back in 2011, and following an initial EP in 2014 they released their debut album "Halflights" in 2016. One year later the band was signed to German label Progressive Promotion Records, who released their second album "Longing for Home" towards the tail end of the year. Around the same time their new label also reissued the band's debut album, as the physical edition of the original run of that production had sold out at that point.

Analysis. I see that a lot of what I described regarding the second album of this band stands true also for their debut album. This isn't progressive rock as such, but it is music that have some ties with the genre and that may well be of interest to many progressive rock fans. But at the core the music here is indie rock or perhaps even dream pop to a much larger extent than progressive rock. The compositions tends to have the same or similar pace and key rhythm backing throughout, and the main alterations takes place in the arrangements that does tend to ebb, flow and fluctuate in intensity. When alterations in pace are present, they aren't of the kind where you typically transition from one theme to another, as the material here is pretty uniform on both an album level and on the level of the individual song. The one tie to the genre the band presents us with is the use of textured instrument details of the kind that is the trademark sound of post-rock. In this case it is applied as an effect, on top of material that is much closer to indie rock. Wandering plucked guitars and a steady rhythm section dominate, and on most tracks the vocals are dominant and the instruments subservient. The instruments gets to shine in transitions and instrumental passages of course, and this is also where the post rock elements most often makes their appearances. Stunningly beautiful at best, in this case generally wrapped inside a more melancholic context: This CD revolves around melancholy as a core trait in melody lines, vocal melody lines and vocal delivery. There's a lot of promise on this album if you enjoy this type of music, but the total album experience is let down by one technical detail: Somewhere in the recording, mix or production phase someone have done a Spinal Tap on the material, so that the sounds are breaking and static is formed. This goes mainly for the higher notes, but occasionally also for the bass guitar when delivering a meatier sound. Which is a shame, as progressive rock fans tends to notice such details being present. For me it is a detrimental feature, but not to the extent of being a destructive one. A slight annoyance when it appears - but for audiophiles this will be a much bigger issue I suspect.

Conclusion. Starsabout is a good example of a band operating inside a relatively more mainstream oriented type of music, indie rock in this case, that incorporate some elements from the progressive rock universe to make their music more interesting. In this case it is post rock, and those who love coming across indie rock bands flavoring their material with post rock textures as well as being fans of melancholic music in general will find a lot to enjoy here. The breaking sounds and static that comes due to this will be a detrimental issue for some though, and if you consider yourself an audiophile chances are that this album just isn't one for you.

Progmessor: June 27th 2018
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Starsabout


Progressive Promotion Records


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