Starcrawler – Devour You

We open to the convoluted chatterings of classroom nuisance. Building, it seeps into “Lizzy,” the opening track. The first lick immediately showcases the new abilities acquired during the interim between last year’s self-titled debut and this. With a crash and wail, lead singer and frontwoman Arrow de Wilde screeches the line “I think I’m falling down,” matched with ornate patterns that give the sensation of vertigo. From then on, one can only guess where this album is headed. Nine times out of ten you’re wrong.

From basement grunge to twangy rock to industrial disco, this is Starcrawler with a resounding return that alters expectation like few albums do. Whether or not you were a fan of the debut, you were kind of expecting the sophomore effort to be more of the same: definitely some fresh hooks, but all falling into the genre of the former. Look at them now, and you’re thoroughly surprised at the palette offered here with Devour You. The last direction I’d suspect them to take would be the country rock one (that and gangster rap, do I hear album three?), but color me stupid if that sound is not responsible for the best material on the album, with the carefree winding road of “No More Pennies” to the lonesome closer “Call Me a Baby.” In fact, every venture they take is successful to such an extent that the classic Starcrawler sound takes a backseat in the listeners mind.

It’s hard to dissect a sound that takes from all walks of life, but given their age, I see a built-up cynicism towards the Go-Go’s of their adolescence. The songs play like a weird spin on early/mid 2000s mainstream alternative, creating this Anti-Avril Lavigne ode to the forgotten yesterdays. The mix has been invigorated, very present on all accounts. With this more intense mix, you can really feel each song as a performance, which should be an intent for a band like theirs.

If nothing else this album shows much promise the future holds for Starcrawler. They could take any one of the sounds displayed on Devour You and make a whole album with it. Starcrawler stock has risen exponentially, and the next release ought to be a whole new world of sonic capabilities. Often, the sophomore effort makes or breaks a young group. Go ahead and chalk this one up in the makes margin.

Devour You
[Rough Trade]