Starcrawler’s self-titled debut album on Rough Trade should melt the hearts of older listeners who subscribe to the “They don’t make ‘em, like they used to” school of thought, and at the same time capture the imaginations of younger listeners looking for energetic, brazen, guitar-driven rock and roll with an edge. This longplayer sounds like the band listened to as much boisterous, dangerous rock music from the 1970s as possible, and then wanted to play about their enthusiasm for it, adding their own unique stamp to the mix, with lyrics tackling the spirit of teenage independence and rebellion, bizarre characters, and a de rigeur song about sexual escapades.
Produced by Ryan Adams and recorded on analogue tape, Starcrawler showcases a raw young band, full of verve and talent. The album flies by at about 28 minutes, sporting heaps of distorted guitar aided by a raucous rhythm section. Guitarist Henri Cash, who is still in high school, roars through several different styles, from the fuzzed-out slowness reminiscent of Black Sabbath (“Chicken Woman,” “What I Want”) to a more riotous churn like The Sex Pistols and The Stooges traded in (“I Love L.A.”, “Let Her Be”), and beyond. Arrow DeWilde handles the majority of the lead vocals, occasionally sharing duties with Cash. Her vocals are a perfect match for the raucous proceedings, and she gets to stretch out a bit more on the album’s quietest track, “Tears.”
Starcrawler, above all, is keeping rock and roll alive. That is reason enough for me to give the quartet’s debut album a high recommendation, but there are plenty more reasons to love this longplayer.
Starcrawler, “I Love L.A.”
Starcrawler, “Let Her Be”