Modern rock n’ roll hippie Starla Starshine unleashes a litany of colorful textures, atmospheric grooves and brooding lyrical content meant to stimulate the mind, body and soul in her new extended play Red Lagoon (out now). Blending together different styles of play ranging from more contemporary, focused pop to abstract, ultra-sublime industrial rock and psychedelia, Red Lagoon pushes the boundaries of what we would typically expect out of a young, up-and-coming indie popper’s debut and then some. Cultivated under the steady hand of a talented artist who has clearly found her signature sound, this EP is one that rock music enthusiasts won’t want to miss out on.
Red Lagoon is split into three stellar tracks, one of which is titled “Lover Man.” Though not to be confused with the Jimi Hendrix song of the same name, this “Lover Man” is just as vibrant, edgy and sonically sophisticated as the psychedelic rock classic is. Driven by a thick bassline that pushes and shoves its way past the vocal track to the forefront of the master mix, this track isn’t shy about muscling us with its well-defined lines and stoic yet mischievous instrumental arrangement. One of the most fetching attributes that “Lover Man” brings to the table is the way that it highlights Starshine’s ability to bond her vocals to any melody, regardless of how bass-heavy it might be.
In contrast to the former, “Bad Boys” is a slow-grinding club rocker that celebrates Starshine’s danceable grooves better than any other track on the record does. Right from the jump we’re met with a pulsating guitar rhythm that leads us right into a furious, insulated chorus that is bound to get anyone with a soul swinging to its swanky beat. Starshine is careful not to become overindulgent here, though the temptation is quite strong; with a wicked sway like this one, there’s a lot of potential for this relatively simple pop tune to be transformed into an all-out stage jam in live settings.
The Voice of Starla Starshine Is Sultry Yet Dark
The symphonically-stylized title track sees our lead singer embracing her industrial side and dispensing some of her most evocative lyricism along the way. In a lot of ways, the swirling strings and penetrative vocals that surreally wash over the bass and drums summarize the tonality of the Starla Starshine sound exceptionally; for every striking element in any one of her songs, there’s an equally obscure counterpart to balance out the aesthetic we’re being presented with. While Red Lagoon is far from conventional in construction or concept, it’s an extraordinarily accessible neo-psychedelic record for one reason explicitly – even in its most extreme experimentations, it never wanders outside the parameters of melodicism.
Multidimensional, emotional, stirring and chock, full of haunting harmonies that you won’t soon forget, Red Lagoon by Starla Starshine is engaging listening on every level from a seriously talented young artist that you should be paying attention to in 2019. Starshine doesn’t give in to silly, predictable narratives or sluggish drone melodies only for the sake of skewing the druggy with the postmodern, which is one of the key reasons that her music is so easily distinguished from her stonier contemporaries. This is focused, tuneful cerebral pop at its best, and hopefully only a sampling of what’s to come next.