If It Ain't Broke, Break It! [7/27] -
Starwood Is New On The
Scene, And They're Already Breaking Things
Jul 19 '04
Author's Product Rating:
Pros: Excellent arena rock
songs; terrific electric guitars
Cons: Only 9 tracks; leaves you wanting more
The Bottom Line: This is one of the best albums of 2004. It
will be underappreciated (of course). Do yourself a favor and check it
out. HIGHLY recommended.
Review: So, with Gene Simmons releasing his own album, and KISS
touring with Aerosmith last year, is the era of arena rock coming back
to the forefront again? Starwood thinks so. Frankly, I'd never
heard of the band prior to hearing this album. I had a suggestion or
two from those that had heard the advance previously, so I checked it
out. They're a hard rocking band that can definitely count KISS,
Aerosmith, Twisted Sister, and even AC/DC among their
influences. This is an absolutely rocking album that I can't say
enough about. And since If It Ain't Broke, Break It! is their
debut, I expect more great things from this band.
Lizzy (Lead Vocals, Guitar)
Joe Steals (Guitar, Backing Vocals)
Joey Scott (Drums, Backing Vocals)
Marten Andersson (Bass, Backing Vocals)
KISS-inspired Subculture kicks off If It Ain't Broke, Break It!
in magnificent fashion. Growling guitars and pounding bass drums
background a loud yet catchy song. The chorus is both brash and
memorable. During this song, if you find yourself standing and pumping
your fist in the air, don't worry--it's perfectly normal. Based on
this song alone, I think Starwood would be amazing live. When
listening to the album, you just want to crank the stereo as loud as
it goes. The guitars get to wailing at times, adding to the arena rock
flair of the song.
Won't Back Down is a raucous bit of sing-along song. Lizzy's shouting
is musical by itself. At times he makes the band sound like a mixture
of every great 80's rock band thrown into the same room and turned up
to the max. Guitar accompaniments are excellent here; the drumming is
rhythmic, but not exactly complicated. What's Your Damage starts with
a grinding guitar intro that makes the song. Continuing throughout,
the guitars are loud and proud. Lizzy's vocals are sarcastic sounding
yet very well-done. They sound pretentious, but that's seemingly how
the band wants to sound. As far as the chorus goes, it's out of this
world. Straight out of a KISS For Dummies book, this is yet another
great track. The bridge is a well-executed guitar solo.
Starwood goes a little more low-key with All My Girlfriends Have
Boyfriends. Well, low-key for them anyway. More emphasis on percussion
here lets the vocal sounds really lead the song. Sure, there's
background guitars, but the drums really accompany Lizzy's voice well.
And hey, it's a cool title with a sing it out loud chorus. Social Zero
is a little more on the punk side for the band. Wailing guitars
electrify the song, emphasized by percussion. Between the screaming of
the song and the mindless playing that the backing instruments do,
this song fits the punk genre best. And when you consider the lyrics,
it fits even better.
Starting like something out of Aerosmith 101, great drums kick off If
It Ain't Broke, Break It, the title track. Lizzy channels a little
Steven Tyler here, with howling arena rock. It's repetitive but
incredibly fun. Backlash leads off with some harmonizing. When the
lead vocals kick in, they're going a mile a minute. Lizzy doesn't
really need to scream here. The rest of the band backs him up by
repeating many of the lines. It's not their best song since the vocals
drown out much of the instrument work. It's all a mess of noise in the
background except during the bridge; there you can hear the smooth
You're So Real is another loud, fast track. Excellent electric guitars
make this a winner, even if the vocals leave something to be desired.
They're repetitive, but it's the exact opposite of Backlash (there,
the vocals drown out the instruments). Closing the album is Bad
Machine. Superb guitars get this one started off right. A few shouts
of "Hey, hey, hey!" lead into Lizzy's vocals. This song has an
absolutely electric sound to it. It just exudes 80's rock and roll in
a 100,000 seat stadium with fans screaming. Vocals are repetitive, but
the rest of the band does their part to making this song awesome.
Namely, a group of Eddie Van Halen-esque guitar riffs in the last
minute or so.
What can I say about a band like this? Well, you've never heard of
them, so I'll say this. If you're a fan of arena rock (a la Aerosmith
and KISS), you'll love the album. If you like rock and roll, you'll
love the album. If you're a fan of pretty much any rock, you'll love
it. Unless you refuse to acknowledge the roots of everything that is
modern rock, you'll love it. There, I said it. Don't expect a ton of
inspirational or complex lyrics; there aren't many. It's a partying
album, much like Andrew W.K.
There's a few weaker songs on here, but they really just underscore
the various strengths of Starwood. From an excellent vocal singer to a
wonderful guitar player to a drummer and bass player that do a
brilliant job, this is a well-rounded band. I'm definitely including
this on my Best Albums of 2004 list. So far, there have been very few
albums that blew me away this year; Starwood has one of them.
Won't Back Down: |5/5|
What's Your Damage: |4/5|
All My Girlfriends Have Boyfriends: |5/5|
Social Zero |4/5|
If It Ain't Broke, Break It!: |5/5|
You're So Real: |4/5|
Bad Machine: |5/5|
Overall Rating: 41/45, which is 4.56, which rounds up to 5 stars
THIS ALBUM IS A NOMINEE TO THEMAFIAGOD'S "BEST OF 2004" LIST, TO BE
RELEASED IN LATE DECEMBER 2004 OR EARLY JANUARY 2005. All future
nominees will receive this stamp of endorsement.
This review is © T. Pascarella, 2004. All rights reserved.
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