The Other Stars

We Were Kids

Written by: TL on 12/04/2016 12:39:33

Massachusetts quartet The Other Stars have their first album "We Were Kids" coming out in a couple of weeks, specifically on April 29th, and songs from it have been appearing online leading up to this, accompanied by recommendations for fans of groups like Modern Baseball and Piebald, which should be good enough bait for anyone to try a nibble. Having had the opportunity to sample the whole album in advance, however, we can report already now that those designations aren't far off, with Front Bottoms and Weakerthans also coming to mind as apt comparisons.

The Other Stars play a story-driven mesh of indie/emo/punk-rock where the lead vocals do indeed recall 'Bottoms, 'Baseball and Weakerthans' softly singing John Sampson, and the latter band, in particular, comes to mind alongside Piebald, when you notice how these guys like to move past the relaxed noodling customary with the other two bands, into bursts of more energetic and anthemic punk-rock. The leading single, "Home Is Where You Make It", even features a very upbeat tempo as well as ringing, nostalgic sounding chords that could lead thoughts to The Ataris.

But then that song, compelling as it is, is also by some distance the most exclusively energetic of the record. The preceding "You Looked Better At The Party" and "Green My Eyes" both deal primarily in a mellower, more relaxed style - indeed akin to Piebald - only to surge to more noisy bits towards their endings, the latter in particular almost getting a bit of a Box Car Racer feel in its finale. And looking at the record's modest seven tracks overall, you get the feeling that its feel is located somewhere between The Front Bottoms, where there's routinely been a downplayed sense of melancholy below the otherwise laid-back musings, and something like the first Hotelier (then The Hotel Year) record "It Never Goes Out", where a similar feeling often rose to a more full-blown confessional purgings.

And simply put the balance on "We Were Kids" isn't quite right between the two. The dots don't connect completely synergistically between the two, which leaves you wondering if you're meant to take the songs as a bit of fun, or listen up for a deeper emotional impact. Because it seems like the group has the potential to succeed in either department, maybe even on a song to song basis, if things just get a bit more defined.

This all is a, perhaps somewhat convoluted, way of trying to explain that The Other Stars will likely hit you with a promising sound, not exclusively due to the greats it references, but also due to a talent for songwriting peeking through the cracks in these first seven efforts. Yet while returning listens might grow a sort of fond familiarity, they also reveal room for improvement, somewhat as if these young dudes could someday write their own "We Are The Only Friends We Have", but have some refinement of their craft to go through yet.


Download: Home Is Where You make It, Very Okay
For The Fans Of: Piebald, The Front Bottoms, Weakerthans, Modern Baseball, Carpenter

Release date 29.04.2016
Take This To Heart Records

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