Review by Dom Vigil
Film and music go hand in hand, and listening to Sci-Fi Romance’s new release, Dust Among The Stars feels like watching a movie. With well fitting song titles, palpable moods and songwriting that really makes you feel something, Dust Among The Stars feels more like a movie score than anything, making it an incredibly theatrical and stunning release.
Somber “If I Fell” opens up Dust Among The Stars with simple guitar work alongside beautiful yet sad sounding cello and deep baritone vocals. You can tell a lot about an album by its opening track, and “If I Fell” is no exception. While the chorus is catchy and memorable - “If I fell/Would you save me?” - the song is also very emotional and personal. But it’s not just the vocals that make it a strong opening track. The key and mood changes throughout the song are also subtle and executed perfectly.
Following “If I Fell” is the aptly titled track, “Autumn Waltz,” which really does feel just how the title suggests. “Autumn Waltz” follows suit from the first track and is deep and somber. Where “If I Fell” is still poppy and catchy in some aspects, “Autumn Waltz” is deep and dark. By the time this second song comes in, you can really hear the emotion in the vocals, especially in lines such as “My heart it don’t beat the same anymore.” The cello also adds a very theatrical quality to the track, making it sound more like a movie’s score rather than a soundtrack. “Temptation Blues” is another song that sounds just how its title would suggest. Though in the beginning, this track threatens to sound too similar to “Autumn Waltz,” the blues influences in the guitar are noticeable before long. When the vocals get deep, gritty and emotional about two thirds through the song, “Temptation Blues” definitely stands out from the pack. The raw emotion and anger in the vocals is a nice change of pace and it really makes the song strong.
The deep vocals, beautiful cello and palpable emotion are found all throughout Dust Among The Stars, and while the mellow, somber songs can tend to sound a little similar, or blend together at times, there are little quirks to each song that makes them stand apart from one another. For instance, “Everything Burns” has a very dark message and tone to it, but about halfway through the song, the electric guitar and cello cut through the song with light, giving it a sense of hope. “Goodbye At The End Of The World” is also a great middle track, giving listeners a bit of a break from the otherwise mellow and somber songs in exchange for a big explosion of sound. This middle track is a lot fuller than the tracks before and after, it and feels like a breath of fresh air and an energetic (and much needed) change of pace. While the mellow tracks on Dust Among The Stars are stunning, they can also get a little bit sleepy at times, and “Goodbye At The End Of The World” makes a nice middle ground.
The second half of the album is spearheaded by “Pale Blue Dot,” which begins with stunning instrumentals before transitioning into some of the strongest lyricism on Dust Among The Stars. Not only does this track tell a story and paint a picture with the imagery in the lyricism, but it’s also relatable and honest. It also feels like the album comes full circle when you hear the line, “All we are/Dust among the stars.” Another strong track that brings in the end of the album is “Shakespeare's Lovers.” Not only do the female vocals in this track add a new level to it, but they are the perfect tone for this track and really help tell the song’s story. The simplistic and staccato instrumentals are also a nice change of pace from the otherwise sleepy guitar work and floating cello. “Lets Run” is a beautiful second to last track before the sleepy closing song, “When You Wake.” Much like “Goodbye At The End Of The World,” this track is much more upbeat, giving listeners a bit more versatility right before the end, and leaving them aching for more. “Lets Run” leaves things hanging, telling the story of two lovers running away from everything.
While it can become a little slow and sleepy at times, Dust Among The Stars is a stunning, theatrical release from Sci-Fi Romance. The emotion throughout this release is not only palpable in Vance Kotrla’s deep baritone, but also in the lovely cello and soft guitar work. Dust Among The Stars is both introspective, but incredibly relatable without even trying to be, which makes it feel very honest and real and most importantly, impossible not to connect to.
Listen to "Goodbye At The End Of The World" or "If I Fell"
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