Review: Starcar Sunday: Starcar Sunday

-Kevin’s Take-

I had asked about reviewing Starcar Sunday (formerly known as Getting Betty) and Greg’s response was, “They are Denver. They are Indie – I don’t see how we CAN’T do this!” Good call, Greg… good call.

The first thing I noticed when I listened through Starcar Sunday’s recently released record is that it’s really clean… polished… maybe TOO much, because I can tell this band’s sound has been, for lack a better word, sterilized. But I’d like to think it’s been done for our protection. The musicianship is fantastic, and the dual female lead vocals are everything from gritty and edgy to sultry and pure sexy, in that Shirley Manson/Chrissy Hynde kind of way.

Starcar Sunday is one of those bands that are hard to pin point on the rock/pop spectrum, but it’s safe to say they can find themselves an audience in virtually any venue. They do ‘catchy and cute’ in the song “She”; gorgeous melodic in “Let Go”; fun and groovy in “Green”; hard driving in “One Plus Nothing”; and dark and moody in “My Heart”. One thing this band is not is boring.

I am disappointed I have not been able to catch them live before writing this, because my spidey-senses tell be they will be an awesome band to see live. Honestly I can see them making a much bigger name for themselves as a live, big venue kind of band – plunging jazzy bass lines, gorgeous guitar hooks and brilliantly orchestrated drums build a platform for absolutely splendid vocal performances, ranging from pure church-choir song bird, to independent, take-no-crap rock.

This isn’t a band that is limited by the members, nor is it confined by style or genre. I do feel, however, they have a unique chemistry that may be tough to find again if they randomly threw in another drummer or something. The stunning Carla Weikel and Dayna Geiger (who – fun fact – “once carried a queen-sized mattress on the subway, by [herself], from the upper west side of Manhattan to Astoria, Queens.” She is tiny… and Nanobot wishes they could have seen this) provide vocal leads and harmonies that dance around one another with such great ease and grace, it’s a wonder they aren’t related.  Billy Smalls on drums and Brian A.C. on bass anchor this project nicely, and provide a great platform for Ryan Miller to steer the rudder of this ship from on guitar.

I’m looking forward to catching them live soon… and you should too. Check them out if you’re in Colorado – this place is quickly becoming a hot bed for great indie talent!

-Greg’s Take-

The vision of music can be an odd one to perceive. In a lot of cases, the producer or production can make or break an album based solely on how they hear the sound. Some bands are only “good” because of their producer. Others are held back by their production.

There is also a fine line of “decent” production. This can fall on either side of the “good/bad” dilemma depending on what is being produced. One such band, who falls on the “bad” side of “decent” production, but prevails on the impressive side of talent is Starcar Sunday.

The Denver based, duel-female-lead, band packs great harmony into a tight space with stellar guitar and bass/drum combination. Like a fragile stick of dynamite, if not handled with care, they will explode into an eruption of alt-rock amazingness. Beyond the band there is one glaring wall of hesitation. It is a wall of either speedy development or novice mixing.

Let’s not play games here, no sense beating around the bush, I don’t like this album. The vocals are majestic. The guitar is fiercely badass. The rhythm section is dynamic. I love Starcar Sunday, they’re bold, they’re intelligent and they’re clearly talented, but the album frustrates me to no end. The production stifles the authentic sound that Starcar bleeds through every chord, lyric and beat. The lack of audible range and the conformity found in the levels does not do this sound justice. They are clearly held back by the post-production. Starcar Sunday has great songwriting and instrumentals. Dayna Geiger and Carla Weikel bounce their vocals off each other like pros. Their airy elegance-meets-sassy attitude makes for one hell of an enjoyable listen. Billy Small manages to make the drums present and impactful even in shallow waters. Well done Billy. Brian A. C. chimes in on bass with a presence that can’t be ignored. And then there is Ryan Miller. Now, it needs to be known that Starcar Sunday is an immensely talented and fun band to listen to. Mr. Miller’s contributions on guitar are simply stunning. His solos deliver that jaw dropping moment to a sound that already leaves you impressed. As a whole, there is a massive lot of talent here that is capable of anything.

The fragile line of restraint that is tempted in the Mile High City band’s self-titled album is one that I simply cannot shake. In the end, it makes me want to get up, get out and see them live because there is a beast of a sound fighting to break through and that can only mean great things. Weikel, Geiger, A. C., Miller and Small are capable of blasting through the wall of over-production to instill a memorable experience; I can only imagine the possibilities for their future. In the meantime, we need to see them live.

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