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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Showstar - Think Ringo (Feb 1, 2010)

(Indie Pop/Alternative/Indie Rock)
Belgians Showstar have more in common with the indie pop from out of Scandanavia than they do with the indie rock bands sweeping the British charts throughout the 90s. Despite having toured throughout their 8 years together with the likes of The Rakes, The Thrills, Maximo Park and The Charlatans - to me they sound more like Finnish indie pop band 'Cats on Fire' or Swedish band 'Days' when i hear what their promo album has to offer me. Most of their 2010 bio, and indeed a lot of their activity to date, however, attempts to suggest otherwise. They quote Pulp and Blur as their main influences, and to an extent this is justified, but at the end of the day, if Blur played out some of the songs Showstar's third album Think Ringo has to offer, they'd be a far more interesting band than the real Blur could ever wish to be. This album is definitely not as Britpop as they claim it is, and it works to their advantage.

What I propose that Showstar actually are, is a vastly underrated European band who make radio-friendly indie pop hits. There's no shortage of eery pop chords, jarring basslines, crisp lead lines and cleanly recorded vocal harmonies which add urgency into the mix. The album is upbeat in its entirety and euphoric at times, see (Love) What's more, the band have been playing together years enough that they are tight as anything, and this really translates well on to their latest effort, produced in its entirety by Gareth Parton (Foal, Go! Team, Killers, Rakes) in London and Belgium. 'Think Ringo' is a logical continuation from 2006's Dot, an album which saw a marked rise in the band's maturity from their debut. In terms of genre, they lie somewhere between the 'Slag pop' of Dirty Pretty Things and the grainier vocals of bands like Mumm-Ra and Milburn.

The problem with this album is that whilst it has all the happy go lucky feel of the 90s Britpop scene, they play music of a style which in the eyes of many is dying. This album gets a decent mark from me because they do what they do very well indeed - just fails to get a plus mark because what they do has been done many, many times before - and keeping an album so rigidly styled interesting for more than 5 tracks or so is a feat they struggle to pull off. If solid indie pop/britpop bands are what you're looking for, look no further. If you're looking for an album which is innovative and forward-thinking, you've come to the wrong place.

(Love) is one of my favourite's from the album - its a nice and simple track with Carl Barat style guitars and classically Showstar, grainy but intense vocals. Have a listen below, or simply buy the album through the myspace of Vespasonic Records.


Showstar - (Love) (MP3)

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