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Inventive segues and delicately-wrought musical flourishes render many of these eleven tracks unexpectedly lovely, while lyrics about cancer, runaway fathers and lost love intrigue and compel.
Nadine O Regan, 01 Apr 2003
Gemma Hayes sings like an American, The Thrills play music like they actually are American and now here come Woodstar, a Limerick band who sound as though they’re from anywhere but Limerick.
Echoes of The Flaming Lips and Sparklehorse are everywhere on this confident, assured debut album, beautifully produced by Stephen Street. The instrumentation is lush and guitar-drenched, the vocals mellifluous and crooner-like. Inventive segues and delicately-wrought musical flourishes render many of these eleven tracks unexpectedly lovely, while lyrics about cancer, runaway fathers and lost love intrigue and compel.
Though the lyrics may be dark, the atmosphere is resolutely chilled. There are no strident Hives-style offerings here, and few plangent power-chords. Nothing ever happens to threaten the relaxed indie mood.
Much of the time, this is enjoyable, but there are moments when the music falters. Tracks such as ‘Control’ and ‘These Scars’ are sedate, melancholy affairs, which seem empty rather than evocative. The lack of great hooks and truly memorable tunes compounds this weakness.
Still, the exceptions prove a delight. ‘Can’t Let Go Of Anything’ and ‘Suicide Way’ boast driving guitars, natty riffs and a forceful, almost funky attitude. ‘Dumb Punk Song’, meanwhile, is the album standout, a glorious indie pop gem, which showcases the best of Woodstar’s melodic, smoothly cultivated style.
File under pleasurable listening.