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Star & Dagger

Tomorrowland Blues

(MRI; US: 23 Jul 2013; UK: 22 Jul 2013)

By-the-numbers rawk

This fairly uninspired stew of bass-heavy bluesy rock features Sean Yseault (bassist for White Zombie) and vocalist Von Hesseling teaming up with guitarist Dava She Wolf. It all sounds terribly promising, and individual songs do have some pizzazz, notably the barn-burning “Freak Train” and the sultry, screw-you kiss-off, “Your Mama Was a Grifter”.


Too much of the rest, though, sounds muddy and indistinct, marred by lousy production and an overemphasized bottom end, so the guitars sound as if they’re playing through amplifiers of mud. Hessling’s vocals are often annoying, as she makes the mistake of confusing histrionics with intensity, and the whole thing comes off as simultaneously overblown and lo-fi. In certain situations—say, cruising down the highway at 75 mph—there might be a certain guilty-pleasure attractiveness to this album, but there are always going to be better options as well.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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