Down - Stars Look Down
by Chris Stum
Five Star: A look at albums
that are so good that they impress even the most cynical of critics. Very
few albums are superior enough to obtain a five star rating but occasionally
a band slips through the river of mediocrity that is the modern music industry
and they produce an album that restores our faith in the future of rock!
This series is a look at such albums.
If you’re an avid music writer and fan
like me, every once in awhile you’ll come across a talent so good that
it literally makes you feel dead to the world and will make you wonder,
"Where have I been at for the last few months while this album was out?"
You know the routine here; At least once or twice per day you sit in front
of your computer trying to find the latest, greatest, indie band to subscribe
to so you can valiantly profess; "I was a fan of that band when..." Needless
to say, I haven’t been this excited about a band since ice was sold in
The band is called Stars Look Down from
Portland, Maine. Their self titled debut (Blackfly) will leave a lasting
impression on you like no other. Magical melodies and songcraft is all
you really need to know about Stars Look Down, but if you’re looking for
a more in depth look at the band to find out how the "Magic" really happens,
don’t bother. Trent Gay (lead vocals/guitar) says "Sometimes a song just
happens, sometimes I bring in an idea and it all just falls in place."
Just what I like to hear, talent that is not over processed, just pure
spontaneity and it shows. Enough about the band, let’s get waist deep into
Although the album is comparable to bands
such as Black Lab, Sponge, and Love Spit Love, it’s not exactly a shoe
in to label the band. It’s mostly because all of the songs on the album
are so good and so memorable that you completely forget about any genre’s
of music. There are no new styles of music created here, just all out rock
The album begins with the first single
entitled "Pulse", jumping at the opportunity to display Trent Gay’s dynamic
vocals and songwriting skills. Right off the bat, Gay’s voice has me captured,
not only is there enough tension in the vocals, but there is also enough
"Ear Candy" provided by the guitars and rhythm section to keep you occupied
for several listens. The very next song titled "Ghosts In The Clouds" is
the perfect second track on any album. A full out rocker, "Ghosts In The
Clouds" continues on with driving guitar work and superb "Big Rock Drums"
provided by drummer Brian Nickerson. The way this album is put together
reminds me of classics such as Nirvana’s "Nevermind" or STP’s "Purple",
you just can’t wait to see what the next song has to offer.
Not only are we faced with great songs
from Stars Look Down, but we also have lyrics that are heartfelt, sincere
and clever as hell. "Life In The Minors" backs this theory up by comparing
"real life" to life as a minor league baseball player. Lines like "This
is life in the minor leagues, it’s not the same as on TV", "Swinging hard
and don’t let go" and "I am losing strength and almost gone" helps you
realize that maybe life spent trying to make the "Big Show" whether it
would be in music, sports or showbiz, is not always what it seems. "A Drop
In The Ocean" slows the album down a bit with Black Lab influenced melodies
and once again great lyrics during a dreamy chorus.
The magic keeps continuing on the last
half of the album. Take songs such as "True Crime" and "Nothing Like You"
for example. The band takes a turn to somewhat of a Howlin’ Maggie course
with Harold Chichester influenced vocals and clean guitar passages while
picking up the chorus’s in true Stars Look Down fashion. "What Goes Up"
and "On A Limb" both round out the album perfectly creating a backdrop
of darker music and maintaining sweet melody lines throughout each song.
I could go on for days, maybe weeks about
this album. There is something special in each song on the album that sets
it apart from many others. Make sure you find out for yourself the magic
that lies in the music of Stars Look Down.
Look Down - Stars Look Down
2.Ghost in the Clouds
3.Life in the Minors
4.A Drop in the Ocean
5.You've Done Enough
8.Nothing Like You
9.What Goes Up
10.Out on a Limb
and Purchase this CD online
the band's homepage to learn more
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