Sweden’s Starmen are back!
I’ll be the first to admit I got very hot under the collar when I found out that the four facepainted freaks were heading back to the fray; The band’s last album, By The Grace Of Rock N’Roll, was one of my fave jams of 2021, it’s mix of sans-makeup Kiss and other more obscure AOR delights really caused a bustle in my hedgerow – Will being Starmenized have the same effect on your not-so-humble-interlocutor? Read on to find out!
The answer to this question – at least the musical portion of it – has to be an unequivocal yes, based on the uncontrollable, involuntary rocking caused by barnstorming tracks like Black Moon Rising and Renegade Jenny. The former is utter, mayhemic hard rock perfection of the highest order, sounding like something Kiss might have concocted around the time of Asylum, whilst the latter is a sumptuous, supremely executed piece of anthemic AOR that’ll send shockwaves of pleasure to your very core if you’ve ever contemplated donning a satin dustcoat for recreational purposes.
The less strident penultimate track Word Up (We All Bleed Red) sees the band charting a course through yachtier waters, but the quality level doesn’t dip even here as the band turn in a performance bursting with cheesy joie de vivre and grin-inducing skill; Whatever genre these guys tackle, they come out on top.
We’ve gone over the matter before in these pages, but I do wonder whether the band’s continued insistence on the Starmen makeup holds the guys back a little; Surely, when you have the voice of Gold Starman, or the off-the-chain-chops of lead axe Purple Starman, such frippery and gimmick becomes superfluous? I dunno. But listening to the rampant likes of opening cut Liar, I gotta say that’s how it seems to me, grump, fun-free old git that I am.
Still, I’ll leave you to think that over and reach your own conclusions. But don’t spend too long chewing over that particular piece of fat – it’s a far more productive use of time to simply immerse yourself in the fast-paced grandeur of Just A Stranger and give thanks that such a feelgood proposition as the Starmen even exists in these increasingly dour times. This is music built to be enjoyed, and, using that criteria then once again you’d have to say that Starmen have succeeded massively with Starmenized.
Starmenized releases on September 8th.