Teenage Rockers Showcase Tenacious First LP
What do you get when you cross a barely legal rock band with a seasoned songwriter? The answer is Starcrawler. The Los Angeles quartet has teamed up with legendary songwriter Ryan Adams to produce their self-titled debut album.
The group’s origins can be traced to a high school in Echo Park, where vocalist Arrow de Wilde and guitarist Henri Cash first got together to form the band. They found drummer Austin Smith and bassist Tim Franco in Hollywood, and soon after hit the ground running. Their debut single, “Ants,” was released in 2017, but it was the B-side “Used To Know” that caught traction, and the young rockers soon wound up on British radio. After that, they spent a couple months with Adams in the studio and have now released the ensuing product.
What immediately jumps out is the band’s energy. The songs are short, sweet, and to the point, as the album’s 10 songs only take 27 minutes to listen through. It’s pretty straight ahead garage rock/punk, with sassy, angular guitar riffs and low-fi drums. De Wilde’s vocals are the most distinct facet of the band’s sound. They’re low and ominous, and the fact that the vocals are double-tracked and coated in reverb is an interesting touch given the rest of the album’s raw nature. She trades back and forth with Cash occasionally, and he does a good job with the responses to her calls.
The one drawback is the lack of hooks or variety in Starcrawler’s sound, as no tracks really stand out. The only ones with lyrics the listener can understand are “I Love LA” which calls out the title several times, and the overtly provocative “P*ssy Tower.” It’s evident the band is trying to establish an identity early, and putting a strong foundation at the very beginning of their career isn’t a bad thing. Going forward it will be interesting to see if they decide to change things up on future releases or if they’re going to stick to their guns. Other magazines have called Starcrawler potential “saviors of rock,” but before that conclusion is reached, the band will have to prove their songwriting capability over a sustained period of time. Given the strength of their debut, though, there’s nothing that says they won’t.