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The Eastern Stars

July 5, 1961

(Mental Monkey)

The Eastern Stars pick up where people like Beck and Low left off at some point in their careers. Led by Kaia Wong and Rob Corradetti, the sweet, subtle harmonies shine on acoustic folk-pop gems such as “They Know What to Do”. It’s the sparse, hushed, and close feeling of songs like “Lovely Love” that resembles Lou Reed and Nico hashing something out on an early Velvet Underground record, with each vocalist singing different lyrics at the same time with great results. Not everything is fantastic, with “Little Punk” too simplistic and quirky, bringing to mind Luna on an off day. Fortunately, “Money Money We Want Yours” is stronger, with its deliberate backbeat and creepy, eerie hues, like an urbane version of the Handsome Family. When they stick to this niche, the songs soar, especially the gorgeous “The Ticket That Exploded”, which hits all the right spots, while “In Russian Blue” is basically Stars without the bombast. The oddest of the lot has to be “White Belts/Adverse Invest”, a collage of influences.

Rating:

Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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