STARBENDERS – Take Back The Night (2023)

STARBENDERS - Take Back The Night (2023) - full

If you were to dream up the ultimate spandex wearing Glam Metal band in your mind, then that band would be STARBENDERS. Listening to their upcoming album ‘Take Back the Night‘ is like taking a journey back to the days when rock stars looked like rock stars and behaved like rock stars. It makes such a refreshing change to see and hear something so retro yet so cool and unashamedly Rock’n’Roll in these otherwise sterile times we currently live where everyone is simply afraid to do or say anything out of a fear of offending someone.
”Take Back the Night” is a superbly crafted album with a whole bevvy of different themes running through it from start to finish whilst also managing to remain completely faithful to its rock’n’roll roots. Sit back and prepare to be entertained by Starbenders.

Opening gambit, ‘The Game’ is pure, unadulterated hard rock gold. Kimi Shelters raspy vocals are to die for, and the hooks are huge. Then ‘Sex’, a rocking electro-gothic metal tune sounds bang up to date with an intoxicating riff and catchy sing-along chorus. By this point, your pulse should already be raised and your heart pounding.
‘Body Talk’ keeps your heart rate high, and kicks off like any true rock song should, with a good old-fashioned lead guitar, drawing you in to a heavy psych effect and fun inducing track with such irresistible backing vocals that I guarantee are futile to resist joining in with.

A heavy bass riff slows things down with ‘We’re Not OK’, a tune with a very dark undertone. This is the blacker side of Starbenders, which, complete with some excellent effect pedal guitar work, works superbly to bring down the mood. It’s heavy in instrumentation and tone, growing with a slow build as vocalist Kimi Shelter describes their struggle with mental illness, especially from a young age. It’s raw and fantastically written and performed, and the gothic sounds amplify the lyrics sung and showcase the talent of the band and how they weave it through their incredible instrumentation.

Lifting things up once again, ‘Cherry Wine’ is a beautiful and lighter acoustic track which really highlights Kimi unique vocal style. Stunning in its simplicity and delivery. Haunting in its delivery, ‘Seven White Horses’ is a very dreamy track with echoes of Fleetwood Mac coursing through its veins. Well executed and thoroughly enjoyable.
‘The End is Near’ picks up the pace a notch or two with a psychedelic inspired undercurrent and very tight band performance gifting you something that takes you back to our glorious rock heritage. Keeping those past echoes very much alive ‘Blood Moon’ is another hard-hitting song from an album that just keeps giving. If this track was a stick of seaside rock, it would have 70s written all the way through it.

If you like ’80s dark rock, then you will adore ‘If You Need It’, because it perfectly captures the sound of that time period and improves on it with something truly spectacular. ‘Marianne’ is a good old-fashioned rock song complete with bells and whistles (or in this case a very neat keyboard backdrop) that exudes style and class; Starbenders are without doubt one of the best bands around doing this type of rock.

Covering the Alice Cooper classic ‘Poison’ is no mean feat, and Starbenders do it so well, that their version is right up there with the original. The pulsating riff of ‘Midnight’ will pass right through your body, subjecting you to an irresistible urge to move to the groove and maybe even attempt something a bit more vigorous.
‘Say You Will’ brings things to a close nicely with a slower pace and emotional edge to round the album off neatly, leaving you baying for more, with the whole band putting their heart and soul into making it a super sensual finale.

Overall, ”Take Back The Night” combines the band’s established glam rock sound with a new darker take that elevates them to a level that explores many dark themes and topics in a relatable and heartfelt manner that only STARBENDERS could deliver on.
Each topic is handled with care whilst also delivered in a captivating way that shows a raw side of the band that any listener could resonate with, connecting them to each of the members who each put a piece of their past into the music. It’s human, and an album that shares these themes and topics earnestly, guided by gorgeously written music that people will return to again and again.
”Take Back the Night” is a wonderful rocking album that just gets better and better each time you hear it. STARBENDERS have breathed new life and vitality back into the Glam Metal genre, and long may it last.
Highly Recommended


01 – The Game
02 – Sex
03 – Body Talk
04 – We’re Not OK
05 – Cherry Wine
06 – Seven White Horses
07 – The End Is Near
08 – Blood Moon
09 – If You Need It
10 – Marianne
11 – Poison
12 – Midnight
13 – Say You Will

Kimi Shelter (vocals)
Aaron Lecesne (bass)
Kriss Tokaji (guitars)
Emily Moon (drums)


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