Sunday, September 5, 2010

Motivational Tapestry Wove by a Psychedelic Spider

I first heard of Doomstar! last autumn through The Sleeping Sea--the first band I wrote up here. Somehow we got in touch and eventually they sent me a CD. It came on a rather shitty day, or at least that was when I checked my mail. It was my first, and only, post sent in for this site and it was decorated at that! (I want to take a little detour and say, thank you, it was greatly appreciated.) Doomstar! is a 3-piece out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, consisting of Spenser Gralla (guitar and vocals), Noah Bond (drums), and Jeffrey Johnson (bass and "yelps and noises"). They met while attending at Umass, Amherst, but didn't start playing together until September 2007 when they all lived in Boston.

What I got was Doomstars!'s debut album Colors, self released 6 March 2010. The album was co-produced by Justin Pizzoferrato--sound engineer for such notables as Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr.--and recorded at Bank Row Studios in Greenfield, Massachusetts. The album is described by the band as Doomstar!-year-one but also includes some improve tracks. It plays much more like an EP, and I mean that in a good way considering the short attention span of today. They tell me that lyrically the album is based on abstract feelings of introspection, loss and celestial wonder, but for me, as a whole, it is nothing short of hope. The vocals are so drowned out they could often say anything, and the music is so lush and energetic, the words tend to become whatever I want them to be.

Introduction is exactly that, a slow ease into what's to come. Simple guitar, sparse drums, and bass holding the whole together. Blues and Other Dark Colors seems to be the remedy to such a mood. The guitar is friendly, the drums uplifting, and the vocals soft, like a shrink telling you everything is going to be okay, with a bass-line at your back gently nudging you over the toughest of hurdles. Night feels like an outtro to the mess you've just got through. And In the End…There Will Be Color feels like an intro to Helicopter Pilot. It's these transitions that give Colors the feel of an EP, the easy-listening that our short attention spans desire. Helicopter Pilot brings back the uplifting feeling that we find in Blues… It's undeniable line, Where you gonna run to?, reminds us of the facing we all must do and the chants urge us to go for it. It reminds me of tracks by Broken Social Scene. Light is like an intermission. It's simplicity and divergence from from psychedelia into folk respectfully caters to the everyday-listener. The Conversation acts as an intro to Mountain Siege, brining back the broken delivery we encountered earlier. Mountain Siege is an attack on the psyche if not our very morals. It's aggressive guitar and drums are a battle cry, while the bass is the hand on our backs with vocals like some righteous drive. This is the first time I sense the influence of The Walkmen--the only influence the band sited for the album. Attack plays as a segue into The Easy Way, yet still, it seems a fadeout. The Easy Way brings us down from the battle. It's drums still aggressive somehow bring you a calm. When you think it's all over you have to face the need to carry on. It's like nothing ends but only brings you something new. It's end is so reminiscent of something that's come before. As for me, I'd rather not figure it out.

My Favorite Track

Blues and Other Dark Colors

Most Accessible Track

Helicopter Pilot

Since last year Doomstar! has released another EP and are now on tour. Check out their Bandcamp page for purchases and their MySpace for show dates.

photo credit: © Jhnystvns

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