Stellar Days – A New Beginning (Tanza Records)
Originally formed in 2008, Champaign, Illinois natives Stellar Days suffered a false start, shed a drummer, and returned again in 2011 with a new line-up. Led by Ben Myers (lead vox, rhythm guitar) the group plays a honest-to-goodness form of rock, underpinned with serious themes and a credible alt. pop edge, which hooks the listener almost from the off. Indeed, launch track “Yesterday” warms up with a simple acoustic strum before the electrics kick in, and memories of bands like The Other Kids and late period Replacements are revived.
The rhythm section of drummer Dexter Williams and bass man Woody Deck lay complex foundations for the songs to sit, and Myers and lead guitarist Jarod Tinsley provide plenty of substance. “Walk-Around” features a tremendous loping rhythmic device, and the song is performed with passion. Tinsley adds detail and nuance, and if things like singles mattered anymore, “Walk-Around” would be bound for radio.
“Miss Jane” opts for a more traditional rock approach, it’s choppy guitars and old-school lyric will please many and “Break-Up Song” redresses the balance with something altogether more new-wave - in fact, it’s almost power pop, and no less enjoyable for that. I’m not sure Stellar Days have completely found their musical feet just yet, but there’s plenty of promise on this debut collection and I’m looking forward to hearing what they come up with next.