Stars and Rabbit
Out 28th February
Fresh from the shores of Indonesia, Stars and Rabbit are on an express train to the top of the record collection. This duo of musical talents have been making a massive name for themselves in their home nation and beyond. A back-catalogue of music including an EP, and debut album, live recordings, and a collaboration with the band Bottlesmoker means this new LP is bound to have something special for us. Since forming in Yogyakarta in 2011, things have leapt and bounded from strength to strength. A recent single was nominated for best new-comer at the UK Video Music Awards and Popmatters recently featured another track as “miraculous”. A recent line-up change brings a producer into the mix, maintaining the established groove with a new set of fingers that have already learned the ropes.
The music begins with catchy beats and swinging tones that jam and riff along a clean vocal-line. We get up-beat lines with poetic influences in a punky rhythm. Little Miss Mischievous is a smooth and bluesy guitar based rock-tune that brings out a sunny influence. It's followed by Illusory Utopia. Slidey rhythmic notes swell from the guitar as rhythm pushes the tempo forwards. Melodic lines dance and shimmer in dancing doses of verse. Keyboard fills add colour to the minimal mix, revealing separation in the tracks which congeals and bounces around the room.
A chord is picked to produce a shifting melody. The drums begin with a quick-stepping tempo. This is Naked King. A delicate vocal melody knits a pattern of clouds and colour while the music builds and swells in portions. A slower delivery and a scale that reminds me of the orient brings out a flavour that reminds me of the musician's roots. Then, funky blues guitar breaks through to reveal a rock strand which shimmers and glows in the light. Next is The Magician. A tarot card and an entertainer, which is this track most like? Dualistic vocals with male and female voices dance with each other as subtle melody and rhythm builds across a progressing composition. The song gets underway in slow and graceful swishes of intention. It drifts and hangs in the air as new layers of harmony and percussion are added which enliven the production.
A bouncy riff is next, it shifts and shimmies on a joyous framework while the rhythm provides room to swing. Vocals with harmonising sections dance and frolic on pieces of sound which shake and glow with summery emotions. Any Day In The Park carries a carefree and invigorating energy. Next up, St. Anne opens with sample of conversation. A ukulele rises from the static which provides buoyancy for vocals. Chatty and wistful lines jump and twirl in tuneful bursts. A slight effect on the voice allows it to merge and sink into the music like a soft and comfy sofa. Summery and tropical notes swish like mirages along sand-dunes while friendly vocals draw us in.
More reflective notes shine out from the rich guitar. A slow vocal melody snakes over the notes in lush and seductive movements. The tune breaks down and builds up with twills and glissando, before a snare and hat rhythm penetrates and pushes it into a new gear. I Don't Wish To Carry You Any More is a song about getting fed up with taking the pressure off for other people. We have our own pressures. The music breaks free in a wobbly and evocative blues fill which casts magical bubbles from the funnel of sound. Harmonising vocals add another dimension to the composition, a slow moving chorus revels in sumptuous melody.
Blue Boat Lovers starts with violins and emotionally melancholic dives of scale. Guitars find a place in the sound while cabaret style vocals spin a tale over a spell-bound audience. We listen to the beautiful voice backed up with touching composition and allow the song to drive us away over the mountain. We're treated to a sultry and sensual song of sad feelings. It's followed by a snappy drum-beat. Shimmers of guitar vibrate in shaded areas while vocal inflections make rnb style sounds at specific timings. The guitar chugs along with bass carrying most of the weight. Spoken word style vocals spill verses across geographic landscapes of manicured sound. Wavery phonics shift and turn in glistening bars filled with loveliness and warmth. Attic No. 7 is perhaps a secret place where world-changing plans are brewed and sampled.
The tenth number is In The Mean Time. It begins with a radiant guitar fill that dances on its neatly positioned axis. Vocals are added, and the rhythmic flow is let loose on the hillside. We twirl with melodic lines with story time lyrics that bounce on pads of percussion enveloped in chords. More harmonising sections uplift in airy draughts of sonic clarity. Blues guitar once again rings out, formulating a sense of rockabilly easy-going fun. This is followed by a heavier sounding number that froths with distorted chord strikes and upbeat drumming. Hook embellished vocals call out once more with sing-a-long lines we can't help but enjoy. A folk timing with heavy rock elements allows Story Of Them All to stand out slightly from the more relaxing numbers.
The album ends with Untitled 4. Who knows the history of 1, 2, and 3? Perhaps we'll have to look at their previous albums to find out. A slowed down guitar plays out in an empty room. Solitary notes flicker like candles as a moody vocal enters with hushed lyrics. A wind-down song that fulfils a sense of closure ends with space-aged whistle-chimes that soar out into our dreamy audial area.
This fun and catchy album is laid back to back with classic numbers which each have a soul of their own. A friendly rock 'n' roll delivery mixed with classical melodies and homely closeness allows us to hear this band in person from where ever we happen to be.
Find out more and buy music by Stars and Rabbit on their website
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