STARBENDERS – Love Potions +2 [digipak] (2020)
It’s fair to say that STARBENDERS have been making a noise that is gradually getting everyone’s attention. From joining an impressive roster of bands after signing with Sumerian Records last year, to a 28-date tour of America completed in a single month. Clearly, they mean business.
Whether they are wearing fashionable retro clothes in their photoshoots, talking the talk in interviews about good time Rock ‘N’ Roll, or the ability to capture an audience in a live setting, Starbenders’ new album “Love Potions” are deserving your attention.
Not that you need much persuasion to fall for the glam rock foursome, as the briefest of listens will surely have you hooked and wanting more.
The first thing I noticed with Starbenders is that you can’t really pin them down. Their sound is an eclectic mix of Glam Rock and 80’s pop that’s been modernized.
There’s 14 (yes, 14) tracks, however all are around the 3-minute mark, varied, the more the album is played, the better the songs sink into your consciousness. And there’s more , STARBENDERS recently recorded some acoustic versions, added here as bonus.
Album opener ‘Hangin’ On Tonight’ is a straight off, in your face, statement of intent. Kimi Shelter’s distinctive vocal style/sound is a breathe of fresh air in a time when most female vocalists all sound – or try to sound – like Lzzy Hale (Halestorm).
‘Getting Harder’ has an eclectic mix of rawness with an 80’s AOR chorus and, surprisingly it works really well. That chorus is infectious in a good way and should be a contender for a single release.
‘Precious’ features Remington Leith (singer of Palaye Royale) a band Starbenders previously toured with. The longest song on the album with a curious “Please Don’t Hate Me” on the fade out and, for me, the standout track giving guitarist Chris Tokaji a chance to approach the spotlight with a crunching sound.
‘Holy Mother’ continues the flow of the album being 3 minutes of what Starbenders do best. Things slow down for the beginning of ‘Bitches Be Witches’ before the chorus kicks in and sticks around in your head for a long time.
Then ‘London’ is a love song with a lyrical twist. “What better way to go than to have you eat me whole” is a line few other bands would dare to include. ‘Push’ is Kimi singing at her most sultry showing how versatile her amazing voice is and also proving the band are willing to explore different sounds within the album.
‘Never Gonna Die’, ‘Cover Me’, ‘Can’t Cheat Time’ are songs carrying on the theme of the album and showing how good the musicianship of the band is. On a couple of these I hear some vintage Heart / Ann Wilson.
Album closer ‘One Of Us’ is perfect to finish with, leaving the listener wanting more. A slightly melancholy feel to the song but not out of place in any way.
”Love Potions” took us completely by surprise. The album is superb from beginning to end with no fillers at all, benefited from months of studio spit and polish. It has something for everyone, to melodic classic rock and retro-glam, to power pop & radio-rock, all wrapped by a modern sound.
From the beautiful and ranging voice of Kimi and the musicality of the guitars, drums and bass, this album is proof the future of Rock ‘N’ Roll is in safe hands with the next generation.
01 – Hangin’ On Tonight
02 – Getting Harder
03 – Precious (feat. Remington Leith)
04 – Holy Mother
05 – BITCHES BE WITCHES
06 – London
07 – Push
08 – Never Gonna Die
09 – Cover Me
10 – Can’t Cheat Time
11 – Coming Up Roses
12 – Down & Out
13 – Something Ain’t Right
14 – One Of Us
15 – BITCHES BE WITCHES (Acoustic)
16 – Cover Me (Acoustic)
Kimi Shelter – Vocals, Guitar
Chris Tokaji – Guitars
Aaron Lecesne – Bass
Emily Moon – Drums