"There's a twist of early Bombay Bicycle Club in Star Rover's guitar-led sound; a streak of the avant-garde and individual required to elevate an indie-pop track head and shoulders above its peers."
- the line of best fit
"It’s a bit electronic, a bit punk, a bit folk, and a whole lot of whimsical is some way... The amount of layers created by these two men truly had me on my toes."
- GIRL AT THE ROCK SHOWS
For Immediate Release: October 23, 2018
Star Rover is Will Graefe and Jeremy Gustin -- a duo that makes ambitious, dense post-rock with a commitment to melody and dynamics. Though a rhythmically aggressive and near telepathic improvisational rapport is at the core of their sound, occasional unison and harmonized vocals are interwoven into the songs; imagine if Brian Wilson produced a Lightning Bolt record. The band's debut album -- I May be Lost But I'm Laughing -- is out Friday on 11A Records, but you can stream it today exclusively at PopMatters. The release show is tonight at Union Pool [484 Union Ave, Brooklyn] with Tigue, Anna RG (of Anna & Elizabeth), and Henry Jamison.
Star Rover's songs conjure imaginary landscapes, textures, climates, and emotions, often alternating between delicate interwoven polyrhythms and hurtling walls of sound. Album opener and lead single "Byron Bay" is bright, beaming, and hypnotic, pulsating forward in a circular, perpetual motion--like beach waves. It was inspired by a visit to Byron Bay in New South Wales, where Gustin noticed a solitary woman lying on the beach: "So close / The waves almost touching her toes / She knows." The track was completed in Brooklyn at Figure 8 Recording with Sam Griffin Owens (Sam Evian), who performed synth on the song as well. The Line of Best Fit had the premiere, and ThrdCoast recently released the band's Blue Room Session.
Gustin name checks Aphex Twin and Tortoise as influences, specifically on tracks like "Snow Moving," which he wrote after running around NYC in a blizzard, as well as "Inclined For Wren," which speaks to social media over-saturation. Gustin says, "It's fun to come up with these ideas as a non-guitar player, and to see [Will] try to figure them out." "Inclined For Wren" and "Red Skies" both feature original arrangements by visionary violinist and violist Rob Moose (of yMusic). "Snow Moving" is out today on all DSPs.
"Peppermint Olive" -- the song on the album with the most vocals -- features Mikey Freedom Hart (of Ex Reyes, Blood Orange) on keys and Sarah K. Pedinotti (of Lip Talk) on background vocals. Both artists also appear on "Up Up," which was recorded at Alligator Lady Studio in Greenpoint with Cedar Apffel. "Up Up" is the only song on the album with a guitar solo.
"And Then I Remembered" was written by Graefe during a stay in Lisbon. The track features a vocalist named Dr. Stuff, who discovered the duo through Instagram back in 2016. After a year of messaging back and forth, Star Rover invited Dr. Stuff to add his vocals to the finished track, and upon completion he disappeared from Instagram and email and was never heard from again. The entire saga of Dr. Stuff can be explored here. The video for the song follows a unique kind of couple (played by Holly and Jonathan of BREAKTIME) who come together and fall apart as they raise a "child" together. Director Julia Barrett-Mitchell calls it, "A story about partnership, about loss, and about healing."
The album also features a cover by free-jazz legend Sonny Sharrock. "We decided to record 'Blind Willie' as a tribute to him, but it's also representative of what we do live. His original recording is a masterpiece of American music and it has a spirit we'd like to communicate in our music."
For media and guest list inquiries, please contact Caitlin at Drunken Piano.