London based Starseed has over the past few years, maybe quietly but certainly effectively, gathered a strong core following and good critical acclaim, especially from around the release of their debut album “Peace Machine” in 2009. With Download appearances past and pending, as well as other big festival appearances, and a tour with Senser last year, their hard work keeps the attention upon their hard rock grunge tinged sound constant. Now on June 6th the South Africans release their new single “See Through Your Lies” as a teaser and warm up for more festival appearances and a UK tour as well as planned appearances in the US.
Taken from the “Peace Machine” album and produced by Jason Wilcock of Stakeout Studios (Reuben, Fightstar, The Ghost Of A Thousand), the single “See Through Your Lies” is a solid energetic burst of rock music, fuelled by a vein of melodic grunge running throughout it. Like a mix of Audioslave meets Soil, it blends soaring melodies with direct and heavy metal tinged riffs, all eagerly complimented by the impressive vocals of Russell Spence, supported by the group’s vocals in the chorus.
The intro suggests an all out aggressive attack punctuated by lighter moments but it turns out to be the reverse and admittedly, it works exceedingly well. The guitars of Gerald Gill and Peter Wicker fill the track with expansive sounds and the groove that lines the song is addictive to say the least. The firm and active rhythm from the drums of Andrew Spence keeps a tight link between the two sides of the track but it is the bass of Murray McChlery that is most impressive, its hearty throbbing lines, absorbing and keep a perfect balance for the darker side of the song against the light melodies that are at play.
The single is completed by two tracks first appearing on the “Love’s War EP” from 2006. ‘Love’s War’ and ‘Alone’ bring a moodier sound than on the first track, their soulful and melancholic flows still gritty but with a different soaring emotional grounding. On each again the bass of McChlery excels, whilst the scorching drumming of Andrew Spence forges the harder edge to the tracks that keeps them from slipping into anything maudlin. ‘Alone’ has a delicious riff running through it that threatens to turn the track into a more metallic beast but the band resist its call, though it would have been interesting to hear them follow it up and take the song up that avenue. If there is one thing this package proves it is that the band can fuse heavy and dark with light and melody fluidly and switch between them seamlessly.
The single or the overall sound of Starseed is not the most original and it may take a few listens for some to see the quality behind a sound that is instantly familiar, but the band create music that is brimming with riffs from all quarters, melodies that beckon, and vocals that bring a track and its lyrical content alive. The only real disappointment with the release is the lack of anything brand new and though all three songs are more than satisfying it is a shame there is nothing new to give a tease of what is ahead for the sound of Starseed. The band does produce great rock music though that without knocking down many walls does entertain and makes a listen well worthwhile.