Before I begin I want to get one thing clear. This is without a doubt one of best albums I have heard all year. Huh, that kinda rhymed didn’t it?
From start to finish, Star 80 have delivered their most impactful, mood-churning batch of Springsteenism yet, and though their single “New View” is the only track up on online so far, I implore you to set some time aside for you and your ears to enjoy it.
Take a listen to the song below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
It’s a great music video, right? And what is most interesting is that this entire album has the same vibes that the video does. Long lost good time fun swept up in golden apartment party lighting, lamenting being a “shit guitarist in a shit band,” and realizing that maybe, just maybe, frontman Matthew Allan is not the man he claims to be. And let’s thank Paulie Walnuts ball breaking pest for that.
This self-realization leads to a godly saxophone solo, sprinkles of glimmered keyboard, and backing vocalists that match his hey maaa look at me growin’ up aesthetic. The first time I heard the second track “Atlantic City 2,” I found it a bit underwhelming compared to the self-titled starter. However, as my day progressed, Allan’s melodically growled howls of leaving behind all that he knows found themselves being replicated as I drove through my small town.
The guy is detailed and precise when it comes to building his atmosphere of sad sack gumbo, and his secret sauce is not hidden in his long lost wallet or keys, but his daring expression to not be anything else but authentic to his feelings of personal growth.
“No Match For Love” has the chords an Arcade Fire fan will fall in love with as well as the viscosity of Car Seat Headrest meets pre-retirement LCD Soundsystem sonic totality Star 80 clearly has going for them. The criminal and cop lines are arresting. Instead of James Murphy‘s gang of hipster hoodlums screaming “DRUUUNKKK GUUURRRRRLS,” Allan’s all about a cascading chorus that matches the upbeat, unending feeling that comes when somebody falls into a romantic pool of emotional oblivion.
He is a self-proclaimed king of New York loserdom, and if there was ever a time to be a loser, I’d assume this is it. I have yet to hear an artist next to Billie Joe Armstrong make hand fucking seem like transcendental art (Autumnal Baby) and that waiting by the phone line matches the aforementioned pop punk hero’s watching the tube and wishing for someone to call his semen-coated cellular. It is one of my favorite songs on this project, not because of the British voiceover, Dark Side Of The Moon-tier embellishment Allan serves up for Chrissy’s infamous Sopranos monologue about character arcs, but because it is as oppositional to listlessness as it is invigoratingly inviting to direly-needed failure. That’s how this guy is finding his success.
Fellow NYC artist Matthew Danger Lippman has that same balance going for him, with the two both willing to bare their self-referential souls for the sake of laughs, entertainment, and making their listeners smile through their consistent reliable relatability . Star 80 is a band named after the notorious cult flop film that filmmaker, Broadway God, and womanizing genius the late Bob Fosse released before your parents were married, a project Bob came out of self-imposed retirement to complete.
Maybe Matthew Allan relates to the film, or maybe, he understands the complexity of growing older, feeling burnt out, and still knowing that within your heart of hearts you are releasing work that will get critical acclaim long after you die in Gwen Verdon’s Marlboro-coated arms.
There isn’t a dull track on this entire album and while your interest might move away at points, Matthew knows how to reel a listener back in. Whether with his guitar, his lyrics, or the Mr. Cellophane approach of dropping songs about good times rolling away from him, the best is ahead for this bright and promising artist.
After all, who needs fame when you have cult-addled obscurity? Someone should tell Abel Ferrara that.