Between Low and Stars is Average
Channeling Don Henley and CSNY through the gaze of the contemporary music scene is no easy task. Yet this is what the Low Stars attempt to do on their self-titled debut album. But how successful can a group made of two 90s pop musicians, a member of the alternative band Tonic, and that venerable WB staple, Jude, be at creating mainstream folk-rock with a dash of Americana and a hearty helping of harmony? Given their backgrounds, pretty successful. The band doesn’t hide their influences: “We wanted to make an authentic-sounding record that was reminiscent of that era of music,” Low Star Chris Seefried says of the CSN/Eagles inspiration. “Weâ€šÃ„Ã´re not trying to reinvent the wheelâ€šÃ„Â¶ It’s straightforward, very genuine music,” says Low Star Dave Gibbs.” These goals shape the overall sound of the album, yet also make it seem nondescript at times.
Though the tracks on Low Stars cover varied terrain, they all stay within the confines of the solid, inoffensive, genuine folk-rock that the band set out to create. The opening track, “Tell the Teacher,” showcases nearly every trick the Low Stars can pull out of their pre-destroyed bygone era-inspired hats. From the opening piano sequence, to the vocal harmonies and country-infused backing guitar, “Tell the Teacher” gives away the Low Stars secrets a little too soon, but serves as a nice introduction to the groupâ€šÃ„Ã´s tone. Other standout tracks include Chris Seefriedâ€šÃ„Ã´s candid overture about becoming a father, “Child,” and the roots-infused “Tracks in the Rain,” which recalls the acoustic rhythms of the Low Stars influences.
“Just Around the Corner,” “Sometimes it Rains” and “L.A. Forever” share an indistinctive pop-rock pattern that is happily broken by the upbeat vocal rhythms of “Love, Love, Love” and the south-of-the-border flavor of “Mexico.”
Low Stars contains the kind of music you play in your car when youâ€šÃ„Ã´re driving with someone you donâ€šÃ„Ã´t know very well: nothing too slow, nothing too heavy, nothing that will offend anyoneâ€šÃ„Ã´s ears â€šÃ„Ã¬ unless they have strong feelings against indistinctive pop-rock with a folky flair that leaves nothing to loathe, yet nothing to desire.