She Said by Starcrawler is Music Feeds’ Album of the Week. Tiana Speter reviews.
Whether you grew up inhaling Van Halen, Metallica, Nirvana or The 1975, you’ve no doubt heard the prognostication that “rock is dead”. But while many of those who shaped and evolved the rock’n’roll idiom have passed on or gone past their use-by date, the genre itself is far from dead and buried. One band presently flying the flag for rock music’s past, present and future are Los Angeles quintet Starcrawler.
She Said (Big Machine)
Those familiar with Starcrawler’s previous releases, 2018’s self-titled and 2019’s Devour You, won’t be surprised by the prevalence of Stooges-meets-Runaways grit and glitter on their latest full-length, She Said. But Starcrawler also actively seek growth on album three, deviating beyond their trademark punk rock steeze into anthems made for hot summer nights, impromptu road trips, youthful indiscretions and finding your way in the world.
She Said flows like a mixtape, featuring a potent mix of punk and classic rock nostalgia alongside choruses that demand to be yelled along to. There’s a healthy amount of youthful yearning and existential dread on display, with vocalist Arrow De Wilde taking a humanising look at the current state of the world.
The old school punk of ‘Road Kill’ and ‘True Deranged’ is matched by the vintage Britpop hues of ‘Broken Angels’, the ’90s-era Courtney Love power pop of ‘Stranded’ and the velvety melodics of ‘Jet Black’. ‘Midnight’ dips its toes in serpentine desert rock, while ‘She Said’ is a time travelling love letter to grunge.
The arrangements stay sunny throughout She Said, but a darker and more considered underbelly lurks in De Wilde’s lyrics. “Am I worth anything at all?” she sings in the bluesy breakup anthem ‘Thursday’. “Don’t leave me here,” she continues, tugging at the heart strings.
Starcrawler – ‘Thursday’
The album’s most adventurous track is saved for last. ‘A Better Place’ begins with acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies before integrating Southern-inspired slide guitar. Equally an ode to regret and optimism, ‘A Better Place’ feels like a Hollywood movie moment where the protagonist, on the precipice of a huge life decision, stares out the window, face racked with solemnity.
Oscillating between the lyrics, “I wanna be a different person” and “How can I make up for what I did?”, it’s a sobering finish to an otherwise jaunty 10-track album, giving us a peek at what lies ahead for Starcrawler.
Are Starcrawler reinventing the wheel with She Said? Not quite, but She Said offers much to satisfy diehard rock’n’roll fans and newcomers alike.
- Starcrawler’s She Said is out now.