July 1, 2014 Stars In Stereo – Leave Your Mark (Album review)
Los Angeles California rockers known as Stars In Stereo have made a name for themselves as being one of the top up and coming bands in the world of rock music today. One thing about Stars In Stereo is that they certainly excel at creating some phenomenal anthemic rock songs that are full of powerful guitar riffs and tones along with melodies that get listeners out of their seats and their hands in the air. This was certainly displayed in their self-titled debut album that was released back in 2013. Comprised of Bec Hollcraft (vocals), Jordan McGraw (guitar), Frogs McCormack (bass), and Drew Langan (drums); the band’s sophomore effort Leave Your Mark as a whole is a reflection of the band’s drive to make a statement in today’s rock scene. After much praise, as well as a very successful tour last fall with the Grammy Award winning band Halestorm, Stars In Stereo are back, ready to give their all, and leave their mark.
Opening track “Not A Shot” features explosive drumming of Langan which is quickly immersed in some outstanding vocals from Hollcraft. It is a clear sign that the band is not at all a bit afraid to push the limits and boundaries from where they were on their first album. Its fast pace is sure to please music fans who are into speed metal and accelerated rock that is not afraid to just go for it all. On “Echo”, the tempo is kept consistent with rhythmical great guitar tones and riffs. Featuring harder hitting drumming combined with Hollcraft’s vocals, there is no hint of hesitation by any musician in the band. Following is the title track which pushes the boundaries even further with creative lyrical content that is dark at times and catchy at others. It is broken down with some heavy guitar of McGraw matched by more soaring vocals of Hollcraft.
“Fair-Weathered Friend” is one track that is certainly going to jump start the adrenaline of the listeners as it opens with a barrage of pounding drums, thick bass, and killer guitar riffs. The mysterious style of the track, coupled with Hollcraft’s vocalization, lends audiences the opinion that Stars In Stereo is headed for elite status rapidly. Keeping the bass lines relevant, McCormack shines on the next song titled “Firestarter”. The track combines a mid-tempo sound with grunge like instrumentation for a massive rhythm section along with Hollcraft bouncing from soft singing to amplified screams.
Taking things down just a few notches is the track “I Can’t” making it one of the more radio friendly tracks off of the album. It has a slow pace that will certainly entice the listener to sit back and reflect on a time of their life that they felt the most vulnerable, yet comforted. Continuing with “Bed of Thorns”; the energy is picked back up with some great quality guitar picks ups that make the song flow extremely well. The band then brings on a harder and heavier sound on “Vacancy” which brings the heat as well as power and thunder. This is one of the heaviest songs off of the entire record. Hollcraft’s vocals on this track just seem to take a life of their own; soaring high above the sky putting her in the ranks of Lzzy Hale. Opening with sleek piano is “Wasted (Until I’m Gone)“, the next track that entices the listener to focus on the soul and passion that this band embraces. All instruments are in sync with memorable guitar parts and mood setting bass underneath it all.
The album begins to wind down with “Turn Me” as it utilities massive bass and electronically effected guitars. The song expresses the band’s yearning to expand their sound and not limit themselves. The album ends with a thoughtful closing of “Fall Forward“. Stripping things down to just Hollcraft and an echoing piano, she is able to shine big and bright as the morning sun on this track and possibly exceed some of the best female rock singers in modern music. It is such a captivating and emotionally driven song that will give the listener peace and solace.
It is no secret that being a female frontwoman in rock-n-roll is a difficult task with still many gender inequalities a woman must face in the male dominated scene. Often looked at as a novelty rather than an equal, tremendous strides have been made in recent years for hard rocking women, and Stars In Stereo are a key part of that revolution. They certainly prove themselves to be one of the hardest working bands in the rock scene today. With a revitalized musical direction, the band takes artistic risks to show the world that they have what it takes to be on top. Fans of a variety of genres of rock will certainly love what this band brings to the table. CrypticRock gives this album 4.5 out of 5 stars.