Starina leans a little bit too hard on her falsetto – and although pretty, it’s sensual whisper wears on your ears after a while and turns you off when, by all rights, it should be turning you on. She, and her band make use of soft, tremelo flavored guitar and slow burning bass lines to amp up the feeling – much like 2008’s under appreciated Canadian chartuese, Feist. Having been featured on NPR’s “All Songs Considered”, you can rest assure that the lyrical quality of her songs will not be lost upon you. The music is a slow leak, running in and out of your consciousness, but sooner or later, you will fall to it’s demand. Her vocals could be pushed a little bit stronger – I can hear her range being stifled a bit – especially on the rockier Janis Joplin ballad, “Pavement”? (I didn’t have a track listing) – I want to hear her reach down to her toes and belt out some vocal cord ripping pain – the pain evident in some of her lyrics, but not necessarily in the performance on the album. She is achingly close to creating something heart wrenching, powerful, and irresistable – and her backing band does a tremendous job helping her out. My only qualm is that the performance on the album could be alot stronger – evoking the emotion the songs deserve. I’ve attached a video of my favorite song on the album, Underdog.
Incredible Shrinking Boy took some notes from the Nirvana song-book, especially evident in the first song of their Timebomb EP, “Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll”. Alternative styled power chords and charging guitars provide the melodic backdrop for Paul’s unique voice. It prides me to listen to bands and singers that may lack in classical, “beautiful” tone – but more than make up for it in the feeling and tenacity in their lyrics and the recorded performance. This is an interesting EP instrumentally – the mixture of electronic pads and rhythmic beds with acoustic guitars and lightly effected vocals come together nicely and pulls it away from any Postal Service comparisons. The highlight of the EP is “Incapable of Love” – it has enough delay on the lead guitar to make it a ballad that pulls on the heart strings in that U2/Death Cab for Cutie kind of way and its anthemic chorus is a forlorn teens dream come true. “Made of Steel” has a sneaking synth popping in and out of it, giving the song – although this is also indicative of the entire EP – a cinematic quality – full of depth and density. It’s been said that a good song equals the sum of words and melody. A great song is the sum of those parts added with emotion. It is the emotive quality of The Incredible Shrinking Boy’s music that pushes it over the edge. Check them out at www.incredibleshrinkingboy.com.