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Star Fucking Hipsters – [Album]

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Thursday, 10 November 2011

As has been proven time and again, a single album can never be the only thing which decides a band's worth. Anyone can have a misstep or even do a flat-out creative face plant as the tape rolls, but then get back up, produce something incredible and force critics to eat their words the next time around. A perfect example of a band finding redemption after a pitiful fall lies in Star Fucking Hipsters' new album, From The Dumpster To The Grave. When SFH released Until We're Dead three years ago, they cleanly missed their aim; with (far too) dense arrangements and sketchy performances, the band tried to play itself off as an ironic and subversive response to the vacuous makeup of the punk scene at the time, but ended up coming off as mawkish and pedantic because there was no real int that there was any irony in the music at all. Worse, because until we're dead was the band's debut album, it was taken far more seriously than it should have been; some listeners tried to claim (impotently) the band's intelligence, but both they and the band were dismissed as a poor fucking joke because it just wasn't that good, that funny or that clever. After another record (this time released by Alternative Tentacles) to firm up and work some of the bugs out, Star Fucking Hipsters discovered what they were missing: POP! With a bit of pop thrown into the mix thereby making their intent a little clearer, the band has returned in far better and stronger form with From The Dumpster To The Grave; an album which has enough of a pop bent to make it accessible and some sterling social commentary to flaunt.

Listeners will be able to mark the difference in Star Fucking Hipsters' approach from the moment the intro and title track break out to open From The Dumpster To The Grave. Now with a cleaner, more refined and palatable sound behind him, singer Scott Sturgeon turns up the volume and just blasts out a ska punk slab of genius which wears its social commentary up front (from the very beginning, lines like “From the dumpster to the grave/ We'll never be a system slave/ We'll take our food from garbage cans/While they're starving in a foreign land” jump right out to dance with listeners) and plainly rather than wrapping it up in a sheathe of irony. Because it's a little easier to pick up this time, the message is a little easier to pick up and the ska-core backing that drives it is the key to the hearts of listeners. With a more accessible backdrop, Star Fucking Hipsters get to have their cake and eat it too; there's a message there for those who want it, and good music for those who just want to pogo.

The hits keep coming from there as everyone in the band (which includes Frank Piegaro, Christopher Pothier, Mikey Erg, Nico de Gallo, Yula Beeri, P. Nut and Kill-C Hipster) takes a turn on the mic and songs including “Death Is Never Out Of Fashion,” “The Broken Branches,” “Honey, I Shrunk The Cops!” and “Rapture, Rinse, Repeat” actually improve rather than diffusing from the team effort. In each case, the glossy pop punk sheen makes everything easier to swallow, but the added bonus here is that the lyric sheets (which include lines like “Conformity and uniforms/ We're brainwashed from the day we're born,” “Blind ignorance and power-lust/ Gestated the Americas/ It's all a greedy-ocrisy/ Every dogma veils hypocrisy” and “Locked to an eternal debt/ For righteousness you stole/ Rape and kill but save your soul”) are genuinely revolutionary; the sort of stuff that will change you and your views if swallowed, but the spoonful of sugar included with each makes them go down really, really easily.

Without meaning to overstate the point, it needs to be said that every punk – old school, new school, aged fourteen to forty-five – needs to hear From The Dumpster To The Grave. In this album's fourteen tracks, punks of every size and stripe will find something which rings true for them; be it a call to arms against social wrongs, a message they'll be able to feel or just something which will stir the pit, just the right way. It's phenomenal – and shocking too; with From The Dumpster To The Grave, Star Fucking Hipsters have leapt from the trash can to the top of the punk rock ranks.

Artist:

www.myspace.com/starfuckinghipsters

www.facebook.com/starf.ckinghipsters

Download:

Star Fucking Hipsters –
“Death Is Never Out Of Fashion” – From The Dumpster To The Grave


Further Reading:
Star Fucking Hipsters –
Until We're Dead[Review]

Album:

From The Dumpster To The Grave
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon or directly from Fat Wreck Chords here .

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Star Fucking Hipsters – [Album]

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Friday, 03 October 2008

Sometimes a band will appear with a record that exhibits sounds considered to be haute mode at that particular moment but comes up lacking by comparison to those bands earning praise. In other words, the band in question is doing exactly the same things and they sound very similar to what`s dominating the airwaves yet, somehow, when passed through this particular group, it incites nothing but cringes. Take, for example, Star Fucking Hipsters; started as the side project for Stza (aka Scott Sturgeon, aka Sturg Fuckin' Hipster) of ska-punk mainstays Leftover Crack, the band`s debut mimics Paramore in a lot of ways as Until We`re Dead strikes a precarious balance between Eighties new wave (think The Cars), Nineties pop punk (a la Blink 182) and the comparatively new wave of hardcore renaissance bands and rifles out thirteen molten slabs of the resulting conglomerate. It should work. It has worked for other bands. It`s the height of simplicity to look at the equation and see that it adds up. In this case, it doesn’t work though.

Perhaps that Until We`re Dead doesn`t work is due to the fact that, while all of the aspects of hardcore, pop punk and new wave are solid enough, they`re also pale and tepid attempts. After an enormous-sounding but flat and generally god-awful opening track that appears to be the band`s homage to “squee!!,” Star Fucking Hipsters free falls with their legs in gear to hit the ground running into the title track but somehow manages to only negotiate a spectacular face-plant on impact; after an elegant, foreshadowing piano intro, singers Hipster and Nico De Gaillo each shred a lung on a set of lyrics that would probably seem revolutionary to anyone under the age of twelve (go ahead – try and defend lines like “Not ever for nothing’/it hits you in the head/and on and on they crawl/the minutes of our lives/we’re born and then we’re dead” – I dare you), but will draw nothing but laughter from everyone that survived puberty.

This pattern continues as Star Fucking Hipsters alternate between a juxtaposition of hard-fast, standard-issue hardcore clichés with immature lyrics and melodies (“Two Cups Of Tea“) and pop punk dynamics with vaguely bookish, aggro-pop vocals (“Immigrants & Hypocrites“) that at no point really register because one singer‘s not very good (Sturgeon) and the other one‘s creatively hands-off (Sturg penned most of these songs and so even when he hands the mic to De Gaillo, it’s still pretty weak). The vacant political posturing of “This Wal-Mart Life,” “9/11 Was (An Inside Joke),” “Empty Lives” and “Immigrants & Hypocrites” add further insult to injury as well by being totally superficial and petty attempts at best to try and shape a lifestyle that is never clearly defined and so ends up simply sounding like the band collectively saying, “This’ll be cool because we’ll sound like we’ve got ethics and belief structures” as a result.

So what is Until We’re Dead and who are Star Fucking Hipsters? Given that there is no punch line at any point in the proceedings (no discernible one anyway – there may be one lost in Sturg Hipster’s garbled mutterings, but who can tell?), one is left to assume that the band (as well as the album by connection) is really just as empty and vacuous as the numbskulled slogans and schoolyard taunts they’re spewing into every available corner here. Someone find a strong-handed producer (or a songwriter – or both) as it’s painfully evident in listening to Until We’re Dead that Star Fucking Hipsters need help.

Band:
Star Fucking Hipsters Online coming soon!
Star Fucking Hipsters myspace

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