Stellastarr*
"Harmonies For The Haunted"

(RCA Records 2005)Stellastarr* - Harmonies For The Haunted

With the release of their second album, "Harmonies For The Haunted," there is a certain hype building up around Stellastarr*. The asterisk using rock quartet fit in cozily with current radio and MTV darlings The Bravery and The Killers, coming off as a mesh of the two: dense vocals over melodic danceable instrumentation. Nevertheless, there is nothing "haunting" about "Harmonies For The Haunted" as it rolls over lush sound-scapes, with a definite fluidity that makes the whole album pop out instead of forcing you to search for an individual stand out tune hidden amongst filler.

The smooth "Lost In Time" works well as an opening track, pulling you in and setting the mood for the rest of the album as "Damn This Foolish Heart" and "Sweet Troubled Soul" pick up the pace as Stellastarr* show of their indie meets new wave flair. Quick thumping bass holds "Born In A Fleamarket" steady over its sweet sounding melody while the melody of "Love and Longing" soars with power pop energy. Stellastarr* make "Stay Entertained" bounce and skip on a light guitar melody and a full, memorable chorus. Quietly pounding drums lead into the soft ballad "On My Own" while guitars sing out on the gentle "Island Lost At Sea."

Stellastarr* have gotten themselves in the door and they are not leaving, at least, not without a fight. Sure, "Harmonies For The Haunted" may be lacking in hooks and earn comparisons to some of the band's musical peers but it is the familiarity that lends itself to the album, making it stronger instead of becoming tedious.

A-

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