Starting from scratch can be tedious, and difficult to say the least. It requires dedication and genuine effort that becomes a self-sustaining force, a motivator and a catalyst. The saying goes: shoot for the moon, you’ll land among the stars. But what if you were shooting farther? The story of (the now-more-than-ever-perfectly titled) Stellar Young is a similar tale. Once called The City Never Sleeps (adequately reflective of the undying energy of Brooklyn), Stellar Young were set with a new name but the same face and zeal. The band have catapulted themselves to new heights, with sights set farther than ever. And with a release like Everything At Once, they’ve proved that even the stars aren’t good enough.
So many facets of Stellar Young’s unique brand of indie rock were hinted well on Madison, but never to the degree featured on Everything At Once. The cohesiveness is fantastic, as every song flows well rhythmically or thematically, though this does not disrupt the sonic variety that early material achieved. Take, for example, “The Misses.” A gorgeous track, it blends dance synthesizer melodies, rock and roll percussion, ballad guitar lines and psychedelic vocals. As unorthodox as that sounds, the final product is beautiful, fluid and captivating. Everything moves together in a synchronized motion as harmonies swell and flutter through the waves of sound, creating an enormous sense of atmosphere. Intense emotionality rings high and mighty, and erupts on other tracks such as “Playing With Guns,” “Alright” and “Dorothy.” But there’s another prevalent dynamic to Everything At Once: its fascinating blend of Top 40-esque pop and alternative rock.
Keep in mind that such a description, on paper, sounds atrocious. It’s reminiscent of dime-a-dozen bands that germinate in every city, hoping to become big shots and tween heart stealers. Rest assured, Stellar Young aren’t that band. They do it right – way right. In fact, tracks such as “Restless,” “We Own Nothing” and “Speak Now (Good Man)” are upbeat, seat swayers that pay homage to the likes of The Format and Hellogoodbye. Present are the funky and thick guitar tones that feel playful and rich, perfect for summer drives and the mental montages that ensue. Clave and electric piano tones feel carefree and lighthearted, meshing perfectly with bouncy lead melodies. The manipulation of melody never feels empty nor contrived, situated perfectly on an emotional spectrum, be that on the far end of nostalgic and reflective or youthful and energetic. Never do these melodies fall below intricate, yet they remain highly enjoyable and addictive, indicative of natural songwriting talent. Perhaps this is the most endearing facet of Stellar Young.
And so Stellar Young land further than their own name suggests they would. While they leave the rest of us on the ground, it’s been enjoyable watching the youthful quintet take launch. With a constant growth of exposure – locally and on the web – they are poised and ready for 2013 to be their breakout year. It’s been a long time coming but I can only imagine the feeling is astronomical.