Sound: Singer-songwriter-guitarist Sarah Borges has the tough-girl attitude reminiscent of Joan Jett fitted with a classic 50s rock motor and a bluesy rock veneer giving her songs on her latest album The Stars Are Out via Sugar Hill Records/Vanguard a hint of nostalgic rock. The album ships the listener right back to Ramone-stylized jukebox rock with the steely blues-rock cuts of guitarists Lyle Brewer and Borges wrapping around the punk-inspired dance grooves of bassist Binky and drummer Rob Dulaney in tracks like Ill Show You How and It Comes To Me Naturally. These tracks ring of rock nostalgia from the '50s and '60s, and give the listener a real buzz. The band drifts into reclining bluesy-toned country riffs tubing Ride With Me and in the slow reflective melodic rolls of Better At The End Of The Day. The guitar distortions slinking along the underbelly of Better At The End Of The Day gives the track a subliminal plane that moves with a will of it's own. The song Symphony is beautifully sequenced in gently curled strings, softly brushed beats, and tenderly latticed guitar strokes, which convey a heavenly aura as Borges vocals seal the tune in a breathy versing.
Borges' tough-girl style comes out strong in Do It For Free as the music is draped in 60s encrusted rock licks with sporty contours and hard rock rhythms, while Yesterday's Love has a more Motown-influenced rock like Ronnie Spector meets vintage Jerry Lee Lewis culling a jive rhythm with boogie rock. The country-rock tresses of Me And Your Ghost have guitar trimmings reflective of Roy Orbison's Tex Mex inflections, while the band's remake of Smokey Robinsons Being With You revitalizes the tune's bluesy ringlets and smooth curvaceous bends. Borges really makes this song, one of her own. Borges' band also indulges in country-marinades like the Western-country tones of Brewer's guitar in No One Will Ever Love You making the song sink into a heavy gait which is lightened by the sprigs of ghostly strings hovering over the melody. The melodic layers melt into each other molding into an unbreakable bond. Borges' band soaks their blades in 50s and 60s rock rhythms like the jive, boogie rock, and Tex Mex combined with the alacrity of vintage punk. The songs have a sporty look and a nostalgic appeal that will strike a chord with people who desire a vintage rock sound in their music. // 8
Lyrics: Sarah Borges gravitates to lyrics that revolve around feelings of love, disillusionment and despair, which all seem to go hand in hand in her songs. In No One Will Ever Love You penned by The Magnetic Fields lead vocalist Stephen Merritt, Borges muses about feeling disillusioned, Where's the madness you promised me No one will ever love you for your honestly. In her own song with her band I'll Show You How, Borges implores her lover, Oh baby why do you want to hurt me some more.. Baby why do you treat me this way / Baby what do you want me to say Tell me that you want to go to heaven tonight / Till then, I want you to want me all over again. And in Borges own song Me And Your Ghost, she falls into despair, I think I'm gonna put on, one of my party dresses I think I'm gonna go downtown / To one of those good-time places / The kind where we used to dance and see all the pretty, pretty faces and make my choice / Stop listening for the sound of your voice / Cause I'm tired now watching through the window and standing in the rain. // 7
Overall Impression: Sarah Borges has made a name for herself as an alt-country artist, but her album The Stars Are Out puts her in whole new arena of rock filled with the likes of Roy Orbison, The Ramones, and Joan Jett. The Stars Are Out is Sarah Borges And The Broken Singles third studio album following their debut record Silver City in 2005 and their sophomore release Diamonds In The Dark in 2007. Produced by Paul Q. Kolderie (The Pixies, Lemonheads, Radiohead) and Adam Taylor, The Stars Are Out is a selection of remakes and original tunes written by Borges with many them having a nostalgic rock disposition and a bluesy rock veneer. It's an album that seems steep in the history of rock n' roll with songs that appear heavily influenced by boogie rock like It Comes To Me Naturally and others with a Western-country tilt and beer-battered rock like Better At The End Of The Day. It's an album that spends a lot of it's time in nostalgic rock blends, and only in the final track Symphony does the album start to sound more contemporary. It takes fans with a particular taste in music to embrace this record, it's no ordinary album. // 8