Manchester quintet release their broad-sweeping, mod-friendly debut album.
No one accuse Mancunian quintet The Electric Stars of being cutting edge, that's not where they're at. And neither are they an out and out retro act. The truth is they take what they like from music's past for their own ends. What the band's really about is the quality of their songs, and playing and serving them well. It's this sense of craftsmanship that runs through all eleven tracks on Sonic Candy Soul, their debut album for Detour Records.
From the fake vinyl crackle of album opener '136' onwards it's the attention to detail that impresses. Though essentially a guitar band they're not afraid of adding other touches, such as the trumpet solo on Stoned Again, and the dramatic piano and synths on the dark, sinister Bedtime Stories. Singer Jason Edge proves himself a fine singer and decent lyricist, perhaps best shown on Alison Williams,a modern day kitchen sink tale.
Though their main influences are the '60s beat era, the poppier side of psych, and some of brit-pop's confident swagger, there's a subtler strand of US influences that help add some soul to the English pop classicism. Not least the finger-snapping grooves of Between The Streets And The Stars, the stoned country-soul verses and Bo Diddley beat coda on Blind, and the gospel backing vocals on Stoned Again (courtesy of sometime Primal Scream member Denise Johnson).
The album is produced by fellow Mancunians Martin Coogan (Mock Turtles) and Yves Altana (Wonky Alice), with all the soft-psych tricks in their armoury – flange, gentle stereo panning, the occasional backwards cymbal. There are also clues as to the band's true live sound via the amp-crunching, rocking out of Not Man Enough.
Click here for The Electric Stars' website.