This release is one to strike excitement from just the sound of that opening riff and beat. Images of smokey rock clubs and overcrowded festivals spring to mind, plus a winning hint of that classic, melodic distortion – used by the likes of Audioslave and Pearl Jam. All of this is immediately followed up by a superbly satisfying rock vocal. And that’s just track one. The lyrics in this project tell stories; they talk of moments, reflection, facts, and feelings – all the while drenching you in stunning rock and roll vibes. There’s no doubt about it – Starry Robe Sessions is a hugely impressive collection of songs.
Somebody Wound Up Dead is the opening track. It doesn’t lure you in with one or two elements of nostalgia or pleasure, nor does it slowly draw your attention to it’s core – gradually teaching you to love this array of musicians. No, it doesn’t do anything gradually – there is no waiting, no moment of doubt. The music just hits you, three seconds into it, and the entire album is just a blessing to experience from then on.
It’s one of those real moments where you realise how glad you are that this is an entire album, and not just another quick fire EP – showcasing or lightly touching on the sound that could be. This project is full to the brim with thoughtful moments and musically artistic expression, which, all in all, lets you form a full and thorough connection and addiction to the sound.
Track two is Gary and Aileen, significantly different from the opener, with a slight feeling of classic U2 at times – the length of the vocal notes, the melody, the overall emotion. You can check out the video to this one down at the bottom. Track three again veers off in some slightly unexpected direction; the vocal changes again, the rock and roll is back in full speed – with a severe edge of punk rock this time. The general sound throughout this album has a considerable thread, but it’s not obvious; the musical influences seem to switch as far as from U2 to The Distillers at certain times. The benefit of that of course is that it is essentially encapsulating all that is rock. All that is rock, and nothing that is not – a brand new sound track for summer.
Where’s Your Love Been adds a heavy dose of indie rock to the mix, feeling like a huge, cultural moment; the kind of anthem that will draw people to the centre of the room, to share in their ecstatic dancing and intense level of joy. The song is over almost as soon as it begins, but by this point you have a real feel for the album as a whole – the variety is intoxicating, and the songs are mesmerizing in a number of different ways.
By the time you get to One Last Dance, the change of direction isn’t all that shocking, and actually – this is the perfect time within the album to turn things down a little. The vibe now has a smooth and mellow feel to it. A little bit of country rock seems to shine through, with the lyrics and the vocal performance just soaked in emotion and depth. It’s a classic sounding rock ballad, essentially – the piano brings this emotional power, which drives the whole thing right through the heart.
It’s fair to say that this album does at times feel like a mix tape, perhaps even a specially selected collection of driving songs – the perfect musical accompaniment to a long journey through varying landscapes and weather. It’s an outstanding collection. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and the musical show-reel of this project is consistently striking and inescapably melodic.
Over and Over Again also has that indie rock vibe to it. A little hint of 90’s rock, a fusion of country and indie, the guitar solo twang echoing in the background is a beautifully stylish touch. The vocal performance has a certain sound of The Strokes to it at times, but you forget these reminiscent moments pretty quickly. Later on in the album you get to Over and Over Again (Redux), which is the same situation but told from the woman’s point of view – it’s composed in a different manner to further highlight the shift – really clever storytelling and song writing, and a great effect. Each and every song on this album has the feeling of being some classic hit, that you surely must have heard somewhere before.
Once you get to Bonnie and Clyde, you’re far beyond the point of no return. This album is overflowing with songs, classic hits, massive melodies, and superb musical performances. The whole project feels like one enormous jam – the variation, the immense number of riffs, melodies, voices, beats, lyrics – it’s as if every rock star on the planet has come together to get their inner most musical feelings off their chest and just play.
Even beyond the fantastic sound of the music, you can sit and really listen to these songs; you can hear the feeling behind each and every performance, and there are some real moments of lyrical beauty and depth. All Day And a Night in particular is one that should strike a chord with the reflective side of your soul – the lyrics incorporate these ideas and these feelings so articulately, the whole thing is hugely expressively and thought provoking, not to mention the classic and addictive riffs, and the stunning emotional smoothness of that vocal – a really fantastic song.
The album closes with the dream-like ambiance of Bern’s Jam. This achingly soulful instrumental piece will just soak into you, as you sit back and reflect on the past hour of music. A feeling of real, live jazz music, right there in front of you. A beautiful way to finish things up.
There isn’t a dull moment in this album, not even nearly. These songs will satisfy each and every craving you ever may have had for real, hard, heartfelt, rock and roll music. Rock and blues, country rock, indie rock, classic rock, rock metal – anywhere you want to put that word, any combination you can think of; this album will accommodate it. It’s a genuine stroke of genius, and an absolute pleasure to listen to. Food for the soul. Just make sure you turn it up loud.