Five albums in and Ringo Deathstarr have gained a new fan – me! Having stumbled across their music as I dig for new things, this beautiful noise pop band from Texas really know how to rock with the best of them.
Opener “Dream Again” doesn’t give you the rock impression through as it hazily rattles off chords and ethereal vocals. It acts as a false dawn as “Heavy Metal Suicide” bursts in with the kind of hooks you’ve been missing from rock since the mid 90’s. There’s a rough buzzsaw that cuts through the guitars and the vocals which switch around depending on the track have the ability to choose if they want to be in tune or just twanging slightly off to give a wilder than usual effect. As a result it gives you all the immediacy of a grungy rock band riffing it out whilst having top drawer production. The track is an instant success. “Stare at the Sun” shows that the band pay more attention to the atmosphere than most other bands with their weird and wonderful effects that litter the performance. It also borrows from dance beats and electronica too and has no problem in playing with the tracks volume to ensure you are in 111% beast mode!
Diving off into shoegaze territory with so much reverb it’s crazy “Show Me the Truth of Your Love” is the first mid tempo track and it’s four minutes of bleeding noise and sound that all smash together into a ferocious mess. It’s a beautiful mess but it’s incredibly muddy and if you aren’t into that kind of guitar work the track may not work well for you. “Big Hopper” however reminds me of Stone Temple Pilots. A sharp verse riff that explodes into a anthem of a chorus. It’s a tight track that shows the band can do exemplary standard tracks if they want to and it’s nice to have them scattered throughout the album. “Guilt” is another one of those power chord tracks and the production lets you know, it’s all about the power chords unless the drums are having a massive fill moment. However spare a thought for what is an insane bass solo going on behind the electric guitar solo. There is so much funk going on there it deserves applause.
“California Car Collection” is a brooding track – one that never goes into chaos like most that have come before. It chips away at you instead and I love what the band do with the vocals here. They sound whiny and it compliments the song really well. “Frisbee” is everything I love about noise pop and shoegaze music. The wall of sound really pushes through but sounds like it’s on a slightly chewed up tapeso chords waver and vocals warp a little. It creates a tiny bit of disquieting darkness in the song and I am all for that. “Boys In Heat” is a five minute chugathon that takes its time to reach its peak.
The final quarter of the album consists of some its finest moments. “Never” is a smash hit in waiting. Riffs and chords and flying at you from every angle and the sound waves are almost overwhelming. For a shoegazer band they certainly know how to make each sound explosion hit the mark. If you want to start anywhere with Ringo Deathstarr – start with this track. It’s immense. Everything takes a turn for the psychedelic with “Old Again” which is light and breezy and the backing vocals take up as much of the speaker sound as the guitars do. It’s nice to let your ears relax for a bit and this dreamy piece is perfect for that. Closing the album off “Acid Tongue” takes a rock riff and puts it through a pitch bender wheel to give it a weird pulling effect. However the rest of the track is full tilt and tells you that Ringo Deathstarr just want to rock the hell out and do it as loud as possible.
As a man that enjoys shoegaze and a decent guitar hook, I couldn’t help but leave the album smiling from ear to ear. My socks were well and truly rocked and left smoking in the corner. Ringo Deathstarr cross over where my love of grungy messy rock and accomplished well produced rock anthems meet. That makes this album perfect to dance around like a stupid monkey too and the world is all the better for it. Now to dive into their back catalogue!