Swarthy distorted strings come sweeping through our speakers with an illustrious agility. Drums collide with the riffs they form and create a beat that is riddled with machismo. The bassline swings into the mix and gives a little bit of a cushion for the vocals to jettison into. This is “Mavericks,” and it’s just one of a dozen gems that Stars in Toledo, the debut album from the band of the same name, is stocked with. Its party-starting mood is a contagious one, and for those of us who crave a full-fledged rock hurricane, it’s a hard record to top this season.
Instrumentally, the first Stars in Toledo record is really textured and well-defined from a compositional point of view. Some of the songs are a little overindulgent, such as “A Peek Behind the Curtain,” the bold “Baby Banzai” and the glam grooving “While We’re Waiting,” but we never feel overwhelmed by the multilayered style of the music. For every over-the-top breakdown in this record, there’s a black and white rhythm-based rock track – like “Don’t Wanna Talk Anymore,” “Hold on to Yesterday” or “Take It to the Breakdown” – to even out the playing field and make our virgin experience with the band a diversified one.
Stars in Toledo Bring The Rock
Stars in Toledo boasts a really tight master mix, and I find it to be just as much of an alluring element as the music itself is here. While a lot of bands that I’ve listened to in the last few months have had the right chops to make a decent rock album, there haven’t been nearly as many who have had the slickly produced sound that this LP is brimming with. Songs like “Be Your Man,” “Without You Gere” and “Get Me Right” are crisp, clean and concert-quality, while other tracks like “99 Bottles” and “Rnr 24 7 365” come oozing out of our stereo with uncompromising sonic strength.
So many acts are doing the “retro” thing right now, and to be quite frank, failing miserably at it, but not this band. Though it could be said that Stars in Toledo have a style of play that is rooted in the ways of 80’s rock bands both on the metal and punk sides of the spectrum, I don’t get a throwback feel from these tracks in the slightest. “Be Your Man” and “Mavericks” have got the swing of classic rock, but their high definition tonality puts them in a completely different category than any of their less than erudite rival tracks cut by artists in the States and abroad.
There’s plenty of ground left for these guys to cover, but overall Stars in Toledo is a really compelling rookie release that showcases everything that this five-piece is all about without overstating a theme in the music. I will admit that I like some of the heavier, Sabbath- songs on this record more than the adrenaline-laced tracks, but when heard as a complete piece, I think that all of the material here plays an integral role in introducing us to Stars in Toledo and their collective dynamic as a group. I’ll be keeping an eye on them in the future, and after hearing their first album for yourself, I think you will too.
Find more Stars In Toledo on SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/album/53DcWX0WsbkbmvH45sLMHi