Stars Burn Stripes

We'll Be Right Back... EP

Written by: PP on 22/06/2009 18:12:37

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Denmark has a couple of good punk rock bands, the problem's just that nobody knows about them. Ever since went into stand-still over a year ago there hasn't been a place for Denmark's punk community to gather, so just like I did in my Thought Police Brutality review about half a year ago, I'm hijacking the intro to this review for a shout out for the Danish punk scene to send their stuff in for reviews. Lets make it happen. Today's punk exposé focuses on a young Copenhagen outfit Stars Burn Stripes and their EP "We'll Be Right Back" that was released about a year ago (as far as I could gather based on when their studio clips were recorded, there's very little information available on the precise release date).

From the first moments of the record, you're treated to tight punk rock with raw guitars and plenty of speed and energy. Many songs recall the fast, melodic punk rock of early Anti-Flag and the explosiveness of early AFI material. The singer actually sounds like a bastard child of Chris from Anti-Flag and AFI's Davey Havok (from the old days) with the way he places a strain on his yelled and screamed vocals. There's some good backup screaming and gang shouting in places, though especially on "Tomorrow" which has a woo-hoo chorus so infectious that there's just no way you wouldn't be singing along from first listen. The bass lines are typically punk rock, pummeling audibly on the soundscape, providing both speed and a nice point of reference in the midst of the aggressive, high-octane guitars found in tracks like "Real Friend". "Still Buried"'s melodic guitar line and the "I think that growing up in 1999...the best time that I had" yells are awesome as well, though I'm still convinced that most people will take quite a few listens to get used to the angsty-but-angry voice of vocalist Lasse.

A song like "Amnesia Industry" has chords that could've been on an early 90s NOFX album, here I'm thinking of "S&M Airlines" or even "Ribbed", which is good stuff really but just doesn't match to the best track on the album, "So Long Macaulay Culkin". It is here that Stars Burn Stripes is at their very best, starting from the slow, acoustic intro that receives a crushing chord and a pounding drum intro moments later. Yeah, it may be just power-chord based punk rock, but it has so much positive energy and perfectly placed backing vocals that it has potential to go far. Especially backup vocalist Filip deserves an honorable mention here, as his more solid (though still harsh) voice fits the vocal harmony perfectly: I've been going around singing "As I recall I was haapppyyy.... but the pictures of them have all burned away" for quite a while now. Give these guys some more production to especially this song and we're onto something really good. Some may be in favour of the raw production that leaves the bass rumbling and the guitars rough around the edges, but I think that at least a slightly cleaner sound would do some of the songs wonders. For now, they are decent, high-octane punk rock songs drenched in passion and dedication to the scene, but there are still too few gems to rate this much higher. Lets wait and see what comes next though.

Download: Tomorrow, So Long Macaulay Culkin
For the fans of: early era of Anti-Flag, AFI and NOFX
Listen: Myspace

Release date 2008

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