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What Strange Beasts – Starlight’s Castaways

What Strange Beasts
Starlight’s Castaways
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 08 December 2022, 1:16 PM

What I got from Bandcamp about the album includes the following: The scintillating second series of sonnets from What Strange Beasts explores the wonders of the universe, and the mirror imaging and reflection of the universe in each and every one of us as pieces explore distance, isolation, loss, and the elation and joy of connection and new adventures. The album has 26 songs. Rather than a track by track review, a general consensus of the album plus some high points would be better. Each longer song is followed by a very short one for the most point. I always wonder why bands do this. It seems a shorter song would be harder to write than letting a melody line develop and ride out. Oh well, in which case, the album is really only half as long I suppose. But, those are semantic observations, more on the album.

The sound of the album is interesting. Progressive Rock would be a loose label, but it fits for the most part. Many of the song are high charged energy with a light but driving beat, and the vocals are harmonized and supply much of the melody. It’s accessible enough for fans of Hard Rock/Progressive Rock, but also a bit odd at times. Therein lies the difference from your run of the mill Pop music. There are even some psychedelic elements here and there. As I wonder what the band looks like, odds are they are either 70’s hippies with long hair and a “peace and love” attitude, or they are polished business men and women in cutting edge modern day outfits. You decide…

Highlights on the album include the title track (with a thumping bass line, endless energy, and wonderful vocal harmonies), the piano charm and smooth melodies of “Meteor Bath,” the psychedelic harmonies and darker allurement of “Scattered Skies,” the funky melodies in “One-Time Pad,” the wide-open charm of “Ocean Glass,” with very mellow tendencies, such that might put a smile on your stressful face, the sweet charm of “Cat’s Paw,” the chewy and funky groove of “Second Sight,” which features a nice bass line and keyboards, “Endless Routes,” which has some tense tones buried in the presentation, the lamenting feeling in “A Different Light, and the closing retro-longing of “Best Friends,” which really encapsulates what much of the album is all about.

While the debate rages about what the band looks like (not really, just in this Prog head’s fantasy world), I would rather focus on the music. Call it retro, call it modern, call it Pop, call it Prog…call it whatever you want to. It really doesn’t matter, because good music is just that…good music. People get too caught up in the image side their favorite musicians. Forget about all of that and just pop in this album, sit back, relax, and take it all in. Its smooth charm will not disappoint.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. A Call to Lights
2. Starlight's Castaways
3. Point to Point
4. Meteor Bath
5. In Jest
6. Plasticbrain
7. Tides of Gravity
8. Scattered Skies
9. Homeforest
10. Imperfect Vision
11. One-Time Pad
12. No New Messages
13. Stowaway
14. Cat's Paw
15. Aeternium
16. Ocean Glass
17. Kalaloch Prime: An Intermission
18. Second Sight
19. Endless Routes
20. A Different Light
21. Azimuth
22. It's Mine
23. Entanglements
24. Deeper Space
25. Inversions
26. Best Friends
Lineup:
Aaron Kremer – Bass, Synthesizer, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Benjamin Ruby – Synthesizers, Piano, B3, Wurly, Theremin, Vocals
Alley C – Guitars
Jonathan Maxwell – Drums, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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