Review by Shannon Shumaker
The Other Stars are destined for greatness with their debut release, We Were Kids. These seven songs are blunt and personal yet relatable, telling a story about the awkward and sometimes shitty shift from being a teen into adulthood. The storytelling in the lyricism and vocals is similar to the sound that has given success to bands like Modern Baseball and The Front Bottoms lately, but The Other Stars carve out their own sound with this release, and one that you won’t soon be forgetting.
Opening track, “You Looked Better At The Party” nearly threatens to sound a bit juvenile and simplistic at the start, but just when the chorus comes in, it’s obvious that there’s more to the song than meets the eye. That, and a juvenile twist never hurt anybody. Vocally, this track is a perfect mix of blunt and simple with a smooth and polished sound, while the guitar work in the chorus is easygoing yet very beautiful. The high point of the song is definitely in the lyrics, though, which prove to be a high point of We Were Kids as a whole. “You Looked Better At The Party” is about growing up but still doing reckless things like picking up smoking, drinking and getting arrested. Lines like “It isn’t very funny anymore/When we get too fucked up/And pass out on the floor” are something that nearly every twenty or thirty-something can relate to.
“Green My Eyes” follows the lyrical journey on “You Looked Better At The Party” with a more folky, groovy tone, heavy with acoustic guitar, and it proves to be just the diversity that the album needs. Not only are the lyrics on “Green My Eyes” a strong driving point yet again, but The Other Stars definitely prove their talent instrumentally on this track. The switch between acoustic guitar and full band is seamless, and the guitar work never takes a breather. It isn’t exhausting, but it’s definitely relentless, constantly giving you something interesting to listen to.
Where “Green My Eyes” is more catchy and upbeat, “Home Is Where You Make It” is a melancholy anthem about growing apart from someone and moving on. The upbeat quality of the song contrasts well with the lyrical content, which proves to be something that nearly anyone can connect with.
As We Were Kids continues forward, the diversity among the songs makes it not only easy to listen to, but also keeps it from getting old or repetitive. For instance, “Cape Cod” is a very bass heavy catchy track, while the following song, “Very Okay” is much slower and softer, taking on a sadder tone. But the two songs flow very well together thanks to the similar guitar tones and the blunt vocal work which quickly becomes a trademark sound for The Other Stars.
Quite possibly the strongest song on We Were Kids is the final track. “Providence” is a simple, imperfect little track, carried by just vocals and acoustic guitar work. Recorded in what sounds like one take, you can hear little slipups in the guitar work and a slight quiver in the vocals, and the result is a very emotional, very human sounding final song. The lyrical content is just as strong as the rest of the album, leaving things on a powerful note.
Things don’t alway go as planned, but The Other Stars have created a little slice of imperfect perfection with We Were Kids. This album is a snapshot of life, something that is impossible not to relate to, easy to sing along with, and will stick with you for years to come. Whatever these guys do next, it promises to be incredible.
Listen to "You Looked Better At The Party"
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