Star Rover – Self Titled

photo by Maryam Turkey

In a time when freedom has been trapped by the Covid pandemic, US band Star Rover have found just that space and liberation in the creation of their new self-titled album. It is a release grown in the wealth of free time the band was forced to embrace and one relishing the creative exploration it enabled. Equally it feels an echo of the environment it was bred within, a small beach house in the scenic embrace of Long Island, feeling soaked in warmth, beauty and sensitivity to the surrounding natural world.

Star Rover is the creation of Will Graefe and Jeremy Gustin, the duo forming the band in 2013 though they came together creatively two years earlier playing sessions together at Gustin’s Bushwick loft where they united over a love for John Fahey, Deerhoof and Lightning Bolt. Their latest eponymous offering is their third album and a continuation of the dexterous variety within their melodically woven noise nagged post and folk rock hued sound. It is a proposition which embraces familiar and inspirational essences but weaves them into Star Rover individuality.

With guest appearances from Jesse Harris and Shahzad Ismaily and produced by Harris with the band, the album instantly beguiled with its opener, The Springs. Like a morning mist is slips in, rising with increasing radiance as rhythms set the magnetic tone. By the second the scenic instrumental casts its suggestive presence with increasing radiance, like a summer’s seduction upon the organic power of nature. Its energy ebbs and flows as its spirit escalates, every second a temptress of sound and intimation which charmed and mesmerised as drama ensued.

Ember Remember follows and weaves its own temperate presence upon ears and imagination, one with another edge of drama that almost teases across its homely yet worldly landscape. Masterfully infectious and suggestive, the track makes way for next up Heart’s Attack, leaving behind a tantalising breath which its successor embraces in its own melodic captivation. Beauty and melancholy unite in its balmy air, vocals almost siren like yet a lure to greater radiance only and a just as ethereal emotive reflection.

Hypnotic and haunting describes the exceptional Ghosts of New York State, the pop nurtured folk hued song an organic tempting as gentle as it is animated with rhythms an echo of that unity. Like a doorway to a realm of sonic crystal and emotional exploration, the song proved a rapturous contagion, its Radioactive Grandma meets The Durutti Column breath as irresistible as the overriding uniqueness of Star Rover while the pair’s affectionate vocals caressed the senses.  

Shadows wrap Valse from its first breath, the contemplative touch of rhythms similarly suggestive even as the song’s sun rises within a dusky climate. By the second it weaves a waltz of suggestion and a brewing dance of captivation, the imagination swaying with its intimation before Rag Doll sees the band fuse post punk texturing with post rock theatre, it all tarnished in grimy grunge rock. Both tracks burrowed deep as too did the raw and swinging enterprise of I Changed My Name, I Changed My Face, a piece of music that swung its body in joyous celebration and feral dance.

Little Red Shark (for Rex) did not quite get under the skin as its predecessors but there is no denying its cosy hug and melodic tantalising if bearing compelling volatility proved fascinating while The Delicate Boxer proved as athletically dextrous as it was intimately fertile. Again drama courted every note, guitars weaving webs of craft and intrigue as keys cast their luminous sheen.

The final pair of Slight Beams and Beyond the Pines ensured the album departed in fine style, the first a lambent glow upon the senses and imagination. Its gentle rapture is an ecstasy of charm and temptation matched by the band’s vocal irradiancy with the fire in its creative blood only adding to the enthralment before the final track brought a final evocative seduction of sound and voice to ears; one soon revealing its own particular drama of thought and resourcefulness not forgetting sound.

Diverse yet uniformly Star Rover bred and a cauldron of beauty bearing certain moments of open aggression, the album is like a sun in the shadows of our daily lives and a pleasure impossible to ignore.

The Star Rover album is out now via Peppermint Olive Records; available @  

Pete RingMaster 10/11/2021

Copyright RingMaster Review

Categories: Music

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