Recorded over 12 months at the infamous Vive Studios, Produced by Martin Coogan (Mock Turtles) & Yves Altana (Chameleons).
The Electric Stars (Unsigned)
Andy Bee – Guitar/Music Collaborator
Keef Whitehead – Bass
French Jonny – Drums
Damien Lawson – Guitar
Jason Edge – Vocals/Songwriter
Backing Vocals – Denise Johnson (Primal Scream)
The present line up got together from the remnants of various Manchester bands last summer to form The Electric Stars. Their mission is simple… To keep Rock n Roll alive! Currently touring, Detour records are going to release a single in February 2012.
‘Beautiful music for beautiful people’. The first track serves as a kind of thematic intro into the touchstone of the album. Instantly catchy with a New York Dolls edge while flirting with Bolan vocals. Driven instrumentation throughout, the track is characterised by alternating soft and hard chord patterns set in interplay with punchy drums and loping bass patterns. An orgasmic, hypnotic, erotic foray into complete pop sensuality. I swear I heard a dash of The Sweet in there? The retro keyboards are the glacé cherry on the cake. Anything with ‘Bop bop ba la la’ is fine by me.
‘Between the Streets and the Stars’
Wonderful cheesy intro, go-go girls in silver mini dresses are strutting their stuff somewhere. Another glorious catchy melody and lyrics. Petula slips into the chorus – ‘I found a place where we can go’. Once again, some fine vintage backing vocals sneak in. This song illustrates simplicity and graceful harmony. What’s impressive is that the band make their statement with the same sort of friendly sympathy that was displayed by the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Faces. Not bad at all. Glorious ‘Diamond Dogs’ style ending provides a nice touch.
We are treated to a gentle Beatles vibe with a touch of Pink Floyd creeping in. Intelligent lyrics sang impeccably. Depicting the decline of a once vibrant person, the dark picture is beautifully painted by Edge’s crisp vocals while the band’s subtle musicianship is underplayed nicely. Each layer begins on a delicate, confessional note and to a chaste grandeur that never topples over into pretentiousness. An awareness of inevitable tragedy which touches the heart. Edge’s voice is blissfully tender – if you can feel, he can reach you.
‘I Want You’
This song wouldn’t be out of place on a 60’s film soundtrack. Edges vintage vocals are perfectly suited to this refinement of white noise into psychedelia. The charging guitar phrase that keeps running throughout, and the riff, is equally relentless. It’s a groovy tune that really sticks to your synapses. I’m hoping there’s a Townshend windmill or two when played live. Hypnotic production, haunting guitars fading in and out, complete with dog barking, what more could you want? This one’s a chart-topping winner.
The ghosts of The Small Faces are omnipresent, the band’s musical influences are evident throughout this album but they retain their distinctive style. It’s a beautiful thing. Superb vocals hint of Dr Robert in parts. Choral backing vocals conjure up images of the Staple Singers in floaty robes. It’s dreamy, childlike, and dramatic all at once and contains both an unusually inventive melody and tender devotional vocals and musical arrangement. Intriguing fade out complete with gentle laughter.
‘Who’s Gonna Satisfy Me?’
A Faces style intro, they’re going for it. Edge steps in with his chameleon vocals which never disappoint. Thunderthighs style backing vocals come into play, something sadly lacking with a lot of current bands. Infectious rhythm of the drumming, the bass is solid and pulsing, the guitars provide slashing riffs, the structures are simple but effective. The tune is insistent and powerful; the rhythmic structuring builds in unimaginable waves to melodic insensibility, rich with quivering energy. A dark horse, this one.
Wonderful retro brass preamble. Edge’s chilled vocals wouldn’t be out of place in a Syd Barrett or Nick Drake song. Once again, the eloquent lyrics describe perfectly how he feels; each track continually creates a film in your mind, how clever is that? A simple bass and compelling guitar lines, subtle drumming and those endearing backing vocals, the music gets you high. But the key is in the tune itself, as emotionally complex as it is lyrically straightforward, every so often Edge’s voice burns through the velvet lining as he sings almost conversationally to the listener. This song triumphs by the economy and sensibility of their sound.
‘Old Fashioned Girl’
Another laid-back intro with a seamless guitar riff courted by Mike Garson style ivories. Edge’s vocals are alternately purringly seductive and furious while questioning love, relationships and mind games. The lyrics display unashamed vulnerability ‘You came into my world and strangled the life from me.’ Heartfelt words without being self-indulgent ‘Addicted to you and your fatal attraction’. It’s a sophisticated composition, a brief story that’s full of emotion but which never slides into dull sentiment. More proof that a song can survive without gimmicks and over production. They believe in ‘Less is more’ and the strength of this band is that their soul is in the timing. Sylvia Plath, eat your torn up heart out.
‘Not Man Enough’
Screaming of T. Rex mania, and I was there. Fabulous glam rock with boas and sequins all over the shop. Complete with rocking guitar slamming, the Ronno-style guitar break is short, catchy and effective. May need a lie down on a sofa at Biba after this. What an array of weapons this band has: awesome firepower, an ever-increasing depth of expression, timely themes and an artistic way of mixing these qualities on record. Their dynamic level increases progressively, it’s really quite something. Plum lips, fishnets and a rocking attitude is advised for this one. Whether you’re a boy or a girl.
Could easily have been the soundtrack to ‘The Prisoner’ or ‘Tales of the Unexpected’. Spacey and ghostly instrumentation compliment the angst-ridden lyrics: ‘Nostalgia, it haunts me’. Nostalgia is the recapturing of a certain feeling you once had before. The lyrics reflect beautifully on this. They obsessively juxtapose the irreconcilable demands of the head and the heart. ‘I’m not trying to say I don’t want you around, I want you to understand that I need time.’ Edge’s vignettes makes one suspect it’s not just that he’s capable of a certain detachment, but also that he can’t escape that detachment, it’s the way he’s always known things are. A powerful, emotional springboard for writing from the heart.
The bitter-sweet lyrics include ‘I’m feeling so exposed to the naked truth’. It’s Edge wearing his heart on his sleeve in this sexy production with a touch of the Lennons in the vocals. Cool jam going on with that vintage casual vibe. Within this framework, The Electric Stars have set various electronic miniatures, including passages of guitar feedback and distortions; tight and intelligently thought out placements. This song is absorbing on every level, alluring guitar stroking and exquisite drumbeat and there goes the ‘Na, na, na’. They also remind us that it’s ‘Beautiful music for beautiful people’. No chance of forgetting that by this stage of the game.
The Electric Stars’ love is, I think, something that can be consciously related to the sense of nostalgia, which in turn is something that has less to do with time and things past, and more to do with texture. Texture is sensuous; if style is how you do it, texture is the way you make it feel. Jason Edge’s voice with his inventive band’s musicianship behind it, not only feels a certain way, regardless of what it’s doing, it also establishes for you a certain relationship to things, which is maybe one reason why déjà vu is such a large part of The Electric Stars’ listening experience.
This band is destined for a beautiful year. The entire album is for your pleasure, a musical Jamboree bag. This is rock & roll with a bitter-sweet restraint. There’s a guiding intelligence which enables these excellent, assertive musicians to work with, and not against, each other. Keef Whitehead’s very prominent bass provides the rhythmic background of the album, and French Jonny’s drumming is solid and wonderfully varied. Jason Edge’s vocals are emotive in a Blunstone way, yet have the power to punch through when charged up. It’s the vocal equivalent of electric distortion. Lead guitarist, and main music collaborator, is outstanding lead guitarist Andy Bee, clearly born in the wrong era, he should have been jamming on Eel Pie Island with Jones, Clapton, Townshend et al. Joining forces with Andy is superb guitarist, Damien Lawson, together they all create a rocking psychedelic musical orgy of mayhem. If The Electric Stars don’t pack out venues and sell albums by the truckload, then I’ll eat my feather boa.
Originally posted 2012-01-14 12:58:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter