One of the best live bands on the planet, Starcrawler follow up their eponymous debut with another magnificently manic onslaught on the senses with their second album 'Devour You'. Starcrawler's sophomore record comes just 22 months after their breakthrough release and has just as much energy, immediacy and potency as the first.
Starcrawler channel everything from The White Stripes, Bow Wow Wow, Sweet, The Runaways and even AC/DC in a dazzling arrangement of irresistible music; taking a plethora of influences to make a sound all their own. The power chords, anthemic choruses, pumping rhythms and brilliant hooks make for a sound experience like no other. Every generation deserves its own Starcrawler; feral, dangerous, a little scary at times but above all exciting and gloriously addictive.
Arrow De Wilde's sugar-coated, snarly vocal coupled with Henri Cash's incendiary guitar and Austin Smith's provocative percussion combine to make the most infectious songs to come out of L.A. in a long while. The succinct songs on the new 13-track album have lost none of the bite or appeal of their first but they do come with a greater sense of maturity and confidence helping to deliver up a riot of sound that's hard to resist.
'Lizzy' introduces the album with a driven, tribal drum beat, shredded riffs and Arrow's inner banshee front and centre. Veering between wailing witch and seductive siren throughout is Arrow's particularly individual juxtaposition. The split personality that presents itself is one of the greatest appeals that helps raise each of Starcrawler's tracks to something beyond the ordinary. 'Bet My Brains' follows in a fevered frenzy of looming insanity before 'Home Alone' locks down the Hard-Rock power chords to offer up a late 70s throwback that Joan Jett would have been proud to call her own.
The magnificent intensity that was caught on the frenzied 'Train', for Starcrawler's first album, is replicated here in another burst of energy that is over all too soon. 'Toy Teenager', the shortest track on 'Devour You' at 1m7s, is a whirlwind of whipped up angst and petulance. 'She Gets Around', Starcrawler's single release from February this year, still sounds as compelling as ever with its oh-so-catchy chorus and dirty hooks. 'Tank Top', an unruly but triumphant cacophony, couldn't be more soaked in a So-Cal garage band sound with a comically concise lewd observation and 'I Don't Need You' is just as confrontational as it is assertive.
There are signs on 'Devour You', however, that the high velocity, full tilt venom of Starcrawler has a softer, calmer side. 'No More Pennies', the band's latest single is a country-tinged, melodic soft-rock song that sits at the door of Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis. 'Hollywood Ending' initially starts with a heavier feel but quickly breaks into a more melodic, Power-Pop track that sees Arrow tame her vocal to deliver up a more considered, smouldering performance that suits the reflective nature of the song. Close-out track 'Call Me Baby' is also another track that deviates from the Starcrawler norm with Henri and Arrow both taking up vocal duties on the stripped-back ballad. Arrow's softer, subtle vocal paired to Cash's revolving guitar and latterly the child choir make for an unexpected ending to a great album.
'Devour You' is a fantastic follow up to Starcrawler's debut album and represents a move on in terms of sound and, in part, direction. Arrow De Wilde continues to mesmerise as one of the most magnetic front women around and Henri Cash just keeps re-inventing such appealing and compelling guitar to make a sound that is truly irresistible. A must have record, and a must see live band.
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