Starfucker is compelled to abbreviate it to STRFKR for the purposes of marketing. But what's so bad about Starfucker as a name? When we work with profane speech, there has to be some intent to assault or assail attached, some angry, violent or objectifying aspect of the language's application that takes it from being a word and turns it into an act of malice. In this case, especially, the only one I'll apply this argument directly to now, "star" and "fucker" are individually powerful words, but put together there's almost a level of silliness that transcends any negative connotation. Either, we're talking about a person who has sex with celebrities (perhaps exclusively?) or a person who has sex with astronomical bodies of concentrated, explosive gas. In either case we're dealing with concepts of little consequence to reality. Still, Starfucker has to go with STRFKR to get into most record stores because (probably) if a child reads the word "fuck" they will repeat it. Of course, we're naive to think that this language doesn't exist in the world around us everyday and that most kids have already heard these words. But, my main concern is that kids who like this great new album, Reptilians, will be forced to choke on a garbed string of consonants to talk about the band they love. I guess they could say "Starfaker" or some such derivation, but when we become afraid of proper nouns, our level and attachment to civilized discourse goes to shit. That's a problem.
Music-wise, Reptilians by the pop-dance outfit Starfucker, is their most complete album to date, or at least the most complete album of theirs I have ever heard. The band combines a lucid and energetic string of dance-ready indie-pop songs, made possible through exceptional beats, those airy vocals we all love and some excellent synthesizer work, into one of this year's most fun and most dynamic album... The year is young, I know, but this album is really starfucking good. The beauty lies in none of the tracks being to heavy-handed. These boys from Portland know that they're making enjoyable music and openly embrace the pop. They ride hook after hook, move in and out of distorted, fuzzy static and hold onto a recognizable song structure the whole way. This isn't an album that is challenging to listen to, but rather a complete, pleasing experience. And there are layers, for those of the headphone-deep-listen persuasion, including some excellent spoken word samples that remind me of the Books and the Radio Dept. Throughout, the listener deals with rambling fun tracks. Some open honestly and clearly and others start with a darker initial resonance that gives way to perfectly crafted pop.
The album, for me, opens in a big way with the epic fourth track "Mystery Cloud," and from there Starfucker only gets stronger and more enjoyable. They have the ability to blend all the strengths of Apples In Stereo and Cut Copy with their rock-dance fusion act, and they do so without feeling terribly derivative. Sure, it's joyful and not-greatly-experimental album, but they cross their genres and they cross them well, taking all of the best parts and maintaining a successful concept over twelve songs. Key tracks include "Death as a Fetish," "Astoria" (which possesses a sweeping, twangy guitar/bass riff that is extremely catchy), the titular "Reptilians," the inventive "Hungry Ghost," and the solid closing punch of "Millions" and "Quality Time." But the rest of the album is phenomenal too. Pick it up, get your dance-pop on, and keep on swearing!
You can stream the whole album via the internets at Nialler9 here.
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