Everything good I've heard about Starfucker thus far has come out of their live show.
I still have yet to see them play...and I love this band.
Josh Hodges, Ryan Biornstad, and Shawn Glassford, favorites for a little while now among the PDX Pop Now! family, are finally set to release their self-titled first proper full-length this fall through Badman Recording Co. A band comprised of three multi-instrumentalists, Starfucker has created a set of danceable, positive-minded pop songs, many of which seem to have been deconstructed, stripped of their immediate urgency, yet which still manage to retain their hooks.
Not all of the songs come off as winners, "U Ba Khin" for example, putters around for just over 3 minutes without ever really getting off the ground, striking me as more of a too-long interlude than an actual song. For the most part, though, these tracks are able to hold their own. They combine Hot Chip's beats, catchy hooks and dream-tinged vocal style with YACHT's glitchy experimentation, with actual instruments thrown in the mix; guitars and drums are layered seamlessly with programmed drum machines, synthesized keys, blips and bleeps, and sampled spoken-word clips.
Three songs are clear standouts, forming the cohesive pop anchor of this album. Two of them have been floating around since last fall on a CD-R the band put together, and have a lot in common with one another: both "German Love" and "Rawnald Gregory Erickson The Second" are each essentially a set of two lines, repeated over and over upon a permuting bed of synthesizer-and-drum or guitar-and-drum machine-driven hooks that do nothing if not make you want to dance. Then comes the aptly titled "Pop Song", a summer anthem ready-made for Northwestern house shows, bonfires on Great Lakes beaches, coastal road trips and everything in between. It's also the only song on the record to have an actual set of lyrics, complete with full verses and a starry-eyed narrative about chasing dreams with the standout lines "you've got a lot to live for/ you even have health insurance/ oh what a bore/ you could have so much more."
Starfucker probably isn't an album that is going to change anyone's life, but that's not to say it is in any way a letdown as a debut. With hooks and dance-friendly beats aplenty, incorporating enough "outsider" elements to interest those looking for more than straightforward pop tunes but still accessible enough not to alienate those who aren't, Starfucker is all set to scandalize teenagers' moms but captivate kids everywhere as soon as they start coming through our towns with that live show I now seriously can't wait to experience.