Album Review: Names of Stars

LA based Names of Stars makes their case to be featured on your iPod with their self-titled album released earlier this year. The disc features a nice combination of dynamic vocals, pop beats and creative riffs to keep the listener intrigued for the album’s 29 minute duration.

Chris Martin-esque vocals sneak into the falsetto range just to keep your interest before diving into the lower reaches for a second to add a lyrical afterthought and then settle back into a comfortable spot for a few moments. The energetic lyrics ride along on top of the pop-rhythms and take turns in the spotlight with the guitar tangents.

The album does a good job showcasing the group’s versatility. Each track manages to sound different from the preceding one. For something slower, check out “Siren” or “Speak”. If you’re looking for something a little more upbeat and driving, put on “Middle of the Night” (my personal favorite) or “What Is This Place?”

As far as musical similarities go, the track “Change” sounds like it could have come straight off of a Coldplay record. For the first third of the song, the unsuspecting listener would be led to believe that Names of Stars managed to pull off the greatest collaboration between an unknown indie group and the world’s most successful alt-rock group. The piano and vocals on the track could be mistaken for an X&Y tribute but then an extra guitar and set of drums introduce themselves and give the track a whole new profile.

Names of Stars is in what some might call its infancy. If it survives its early years, it might prove to be an important addition to the indie music scene but based on their solitary eight track release, the group may have a difficult time standing out from the multitude of other indie-pop hybrids. Still, their fusion of sounds has the potential to stick around and make a real difference.

– Tom “Wonderboy” Roth