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Stars Look 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 Alaska.....

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 this one.

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 music. 

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.

More Info 

Stars Look Down - Stars Look Down
Track Listing:
2.Ghost in the Clouds
3.Life in the Minors
4.A Drop in the Ocean
5.You've Done Enough
6.True Crime
7.Everybody Knows
8.Nothing Like You 
9.What Goes Up
10.Out on a Limb 

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