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Starflyer 59- Old

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The first Starflyer cd I owned was “Leave Here A Stranger”, which was a musical journey. Unfortunately, it was a journey which grew old quckly. While each song was finely crafted, ultimately, each song tended to sound the same. Hungery from something new, I picked up Starflyer’s first cd, officially self titled, but known as “Silver” due to the monotone, silver artwork. This was different and more straightforward, more of a fuzzy rock. There were many cds released between “Silver” and “Leave Here A Stranger”, however, each tended to sound like each of those cds. It was looking like Starflyer 59 would be a one trick pony.

When I heard of a new cd from Starflyer titled “Old” I used what I knew of the band (utilizes the same sound, same tempo, same everything) coupled with the cd title “Old” and wrote the disc off as the same thing as past cds. Then I heard a previously unreleased track from the upcoming cd on a sampler disc. That did little to change my perception. It was the same old thing.

Ironically, I still had hope for something interesting from Starflyer 59. One of the biggest rock critics I know of online got an advance copy of the cd and said it was mindblowing. I said to myself, “Maybe it’s not just the same old thing. Maybe there is still a chance of Starflyer doing something new.”

Finally, I got a chance to hear for myself. I got a hold of a copy (though not set for release til Tuesday the 20th) and gave it a spin.

One song later I tried to pick my jaw off the floor. The first song was incredible. Titled “Underneath” it blew away every preconcption of Starflyer. Instead of being slow and dreary and repetitive, “Underneath” included many different elements, was speedier, and had a sparkle of life to it. If this is how the rest of the cd is, it would make my top 5 list of the year hands down.

The second track didn’t make me drop my jaw again, but it was still very impressive. Then things got a bit more normal, with tracks three and four using a more typical Starflyer sound, however, the songcraft was heads above any of the previous stuff. However, as the cd progressed I could tell that the old Starflyer sound was more of a side note than the norm.

Track 7, “Old,” has an introduction which brings to mind the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. It’s just two notes repeating, but it feels like the part when Willy Wonka brings Charlie and the other kids into the big room with the chocolate river and Willy Wonka starts to sing, “Come with me, and we’ll see, a world full of pure imagination.” (That is a rough idea of the lyrics, I can’t remember specifically how it goes.) It’s amazing what two repeated notes can bring to the imagination.

From there the cd continues as before. The new sound mixed with a bit of the old. Just when you think a song is starting to get a bit old, they’ll throw in a harmonica for a solo, or do something funky with the guitar lead. You can’t even catch everything the first time around. Multiple listens unveil new things never noticed before.

The only disapointing thing about this cd is that Tooth and Nail released it. While I personally don’t have anything against the label, they aren’t known for really pushing bands into the mainstream. So it is unlikely that anyone beyond the few rabid fans and indie snobs will ever listen to this. If there was a good strong label behind this effort I could see this cd blowing the world away. Even those unfamiliar with past Staflyer efforts.

This cd has actually made me excited about music again. Almost the way Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” did for me almost a year ago. Go pick it up and give it a try.

peace.

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About The Theory

  • Randy

    “Old” is simply one of Starfler 59’s better albums – probably their best since “Everybody Makes Mistakes”. I agree with The Theory re: “Underneath” – a towering achievement. Too bad alternative radio wouldn’t play these guys – they deserve a much bigger following.

  • http://www.hash.com/users/cox/ Christian

    I personally find “Old” to be a top notch achievement after the masterful “Leave Here A Stranger” – the variety in the song stylings is a welcome thing. Nice review.

  • http://www.randypeterman.com/wordpress/ Randy Peterman

    I love their Album Americana – its got a lot more complexity than some of their earlier albums such as silver and gold. I’ll have to give this a try.

  • http://blogcritics.org/mt/tb/5298 crap avenger

    dude, your a tool. Americana is one of the best starlfyer albums to date. Pick it up and play it… get out of this “every album sounds the same” crap. Jeez. …Think of old, as the joy electric infused album. you know those 2 are brothers?

    dont forget to stop all good rock from entering the mainstream… do your part.

    C.A.