You have come to expect Starflyer 59 to be the most reliable, most dependable, yet most undeniably unpredictable messengers of album after album of quality independent rock tunes. Over ten albums deep, over fifteen years time, from the early guitar-heavy shoegazing era to the ethereal moodiness of The Fashion Focus years to the latest incarnations and recreations of themselves as keyboard-driven masters of chorus, this is and always will be a band who will deliver great songs with new sounds. If you are a Starflyer fan, or if you are just entering into the amazing world of Starflyer 59, Ghosts Of The Past is a MUST-HAVE! The 2 discs and over 30 songs, chronicle the bands last couple years with some additional beautifully realized covers and accompaniments.
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AN AMPLE ODDS AND SODS COLLECTION| Posted August 18, 2009
After kicking off their career in 1993, indie innovators Starflyer 59 have pretty much released a full-length CD or EP each subsequent year. Along the way, the Jason Martin-led band of ever-changing backers has continued to evolve, evoking everything from shoegazing simplicity to psychedelic explorations to straight up indie pop. There’s a little bit of each era, plus a whole lot of randomness, on this 31-track collection that uncovers a series of demos, B-sides, covers and non-album versions of previously released songs.
Given that specific scope, Ghosts of the Past best serves faithful fans rather than new listeners, but both camps are likely to find several intriguing odds and sods throughout this generous track listing. One that immediately stands out is an unplugged cover of The Church’s ’80s staple “Under the Milky Way,” where Martin casually croons the unforgettable chorus and substitutes electric guitars for atmospheric keyboards. The synth-tipped direction also permeates Starflyer’s incarnation of “Easy,” but plugged-in guitars and eerie bass lines give it an aggressive underpinning.
“Pearl of Great Price” is remarkably hypnotic and gradually builds in intensity to wrap up in a sea of cacophonic percussion. As is generally the case in the Starflyer songbook, not all the tunes are that fleshed out, such as an acoustic version of “Mr. Martin”; while incredibly intimate in these stripped-down settings, it appears half-baked from a production perspective. Of course, that’s the random nature of this compilation and a selling point die-hards are sure to devour, even if it isn’t meant for everybody. —Andy Argyrakis
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from CCMMagazine.com. Click here to visit CCMMagazine.com today!