Civilized review by Stellastarr*

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  • Released: Jul 7, 2009
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 8.3 (7 votes)
Stellastarr*: Civilized

Sound — 8
Stellastarr* reclaim their position as the quintessential synth-pop magnates of the 21st century with their latest release Civilized. Displaying the chic, stylistic coils of 80s new wavers Devo and Joy Division and the fanfare of blazing tremors relatable to Arcade Fire, Stellastarr* create an amenable alloy of electro-pop and synth-tapestried rock that meets club standards. The upbeat tempo of Graffiti Eyes is throng by bustling horns locked in a vise of serried beats strapped to a propeller of whipping guitar spins that keep the band's momentum in high gear. The party-pop vibe of Prom Zombie is harnessed in rhythmic pivots and electrified surges propping a zing reminiscent of Toni Basil's pop single Hey Mickey, and the billowy rumples made along Warchild coerce sparkling buds liken to Joy Division. The towering blazes of Tokyo Sky are striking, while the stirring mix of rootsy rock tremors and synth-pop flusters sowed along Freak Out have a folksy luster. The rotund vibrations and rumbling beats catapult Move On and generate an anthem-like marching, while the twinkling flares that kindle the synth-trellised fires and taut rapping in the drumbeats through Sonja Cries have a Blue October-radiance. The simmering ripples embedded in People slows the album's momentum to a crawl, and reaches a zesty grassroots rock stomping with a dance-pop sheen in Numbers. Stellastarr* are modern day wizards when it comes to reviving synth-pop incantations. They are well-polished in the ways of making music that club-goers desire, and fulfilling desires is what Stellastarr* strive to do.

Lyrics — 7
Stellastarr*'s lyrics are like coming into the middle of someone's conversation and watching the dialogue unfold like in Warchild with phrases that resound, You need to show me some signs of life I'd like to help you if I can. Sometimes the lyrics offer advice like in Sonja Cries with verses that vow, The drastic battle cries.. When you're lost in your heart Don't fall apart. But the lyrics that really stick in the listener's mind are the ones that ring like an anthem like in Move On with lines that proclaim, We can build a story through the years / The story for our age / It's the dawning of our lives... Darling, give me one more chance.

Overall Impression — 7
Stellastarr* have kept fans waiting for Civilized, and it is sure to please them. The album introduces the band's music to new audiences as well as re-acquainting their fanbase with the group's leanings towards synth-rock alloys. The album is best consumed as a whole unit, meaning every track has its assets and no two are exactly alike. Stellastarr* have reclaimed their post on the global market and veered club music in the direction of modern rock with Civilized.

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    In the long run, I think they'll be remembered as a precursor to the Killers. Not saying the Killers are better, just saying Stellastarr* helped make the Killers get big and the Killers have been much more successful in the market. That said, I like Stellastarr*'s first album a bit, but their past two have been merely average post-Strokes, 80's revival albums; nothing really to be excited about. I will give them credit, however, for sounding like Talking Heads if Talking Heads were inspired solely by the Cure's influences.