Start Static are more than your typical working band. Basically, they’ve produced an eleven track record on their own, allowing themselves the artistic freedom to do what they want and when they want without having to bend to any outside pressures or influences – in doing so they’ve given the world a raw, gritty-in-places, fun debut album.
I guess it really shouldn’t come as a surprise when we think back to the videos for the singles from the album. Back then we saw self-produced efforts that are nothing short of brilliant. Also, having met the lads at one of their rehearsals to chat about the album’s progress and to find out a little more about them it was clear that they were a close group of like-minded friends pulling in the same direction to bring their vision to life.
The album itself is packed with poppy hooks and chorus lines that’ll stick in your head. After only one listen to tracks like ‘Reckless’, ‘Love and War’ and ‘Can’t Stop’ you’ll find yourself unable to resist the temptation to hum and whistle them back to yourself and that’s not a bad thing – they’re cracking songs and it’s no shock they Stephen was handing out promo CDs with these tracks listed when we first set eyes and ears on them in King Tuts at the turn of the year.
I’ve been listening to Start Static a lot since that night and the reason I keep going back is that they manage to create toe-tapping music with a well-rounded sound. Giving a prominence to every instrument on each track, whether that be the guitar, bass, drums or vocal, you can hear everything as clear as day and nothing is cranked up to the detriment of any other part. This is an apparent trait throughout Arguments and underlines the importance of a good mix.
The newer tracks – and by that I mean those that I’ve not heard until the album release – are mostly of a similar mould to those we’ve already had exposure to with ‘Play the Record’ showcasing the bands love of harmonies between lead and back-up vocals – something the the band are very comfortable with. ‘Count to Ten’ offers up something a little different. It’s a stripped back, bare bones track with a boppy machine gun riff, interspersed with a melodic chorus and ending with a cool, almost psychedelic solo – showing us another side of the Start Static repertoire.
The pop-punk tendencies come out in full bloom with ‘In the Loop’ but there’s no simple three-power-chord spin to be seen here. Structure and a more subtle chorus line akin to the pop-punk bands of America are present in its place. On ‘Never Let You Down’ John’s vocals are strained to breaking point but there’s intent there and it adds to the grunge-esque nature of the track – distancing the band from the indie label that seems to be collared with.
Overall we have a cracking debut here. With an abundance of bands trying in vain to put out a record on their own and failing hard, there’s the odd one that comes along and blows everything else away – this is the one record in a hundred that will not fail to make you want to listen again and again. Music can be addictive and this stuff is like the purest of drugs out there. I just ‘Can’t Stop’ listening to Arguments.