Starmarket’s previous album, Sunday’s Worst Enemy, was a pleasant enough collection of melodic, punky-yet emo-diseased rock. Since then, the band has become a more ambitious outfit, and on Four Hours Light, they expand their simplified Scandinavian melodi-punk into near mellow Radiohead territory, and with varied results.
The record begins on the high note. “Into Your Arms” (no, not a Lemonheads cover) is a radio-friendly slice of minor-chord catchiness that sounds not unlike some slickly produced MTV-based “rock” group, while “Count With Fractions” is second-rate Quicksand-y post-hardcore material, yet nonetheless burrows itself into the cerebrum of the listener. At times, however, singer/guitarist Frederick Brandstrom’s hoarsey vocals don’t exactly mesh well with the more sedate surrounding sounds, as evidenced on “When the Light in My Heart is Out.” Elsewhere, the band redeems themselves with numbers like “Coming in From the Cold,” a truly emo-riffic little tune readily available for the big time, and hopefully with an angsty-yet-optimistic “The Heights”-like promo video.
Released on Deep Elm, a label known for their Emo Diaires series, Four Hours Light is an elaborate, grand-scale release for a band who may or may not have been ready for its undertaking. Ultimately, when the dust and detritus clear, it’s the geeky emo kid’s decision whether or not Starmarket with be his new, pimply-faced rock heros.