The Hoodoo Gurus told us that Mars Needs Guitars. I’m telling you that our Earth needs Star Collector. Hailing from the western edge of the Canadian landmass, Vancouver is one of the epicentres of music in Canada. Star Collector’s new album Game Day features Vic Wayne, who grew up in Edmonton and played in the music scene there eons ago (The Mods, Truth), Kevin Kane (Grapes of Wrath, Northern Pikes) and Evan Foster (Boss Martians, Dirty Sidewalks, Sonics).
They tell us that their musical influences are The Who, Jam, Big Star & Sloan. I hear The Who on the opening track, Game Day. I can pick out some of the sweeping guitar and the vocal delivery style, not too shabby to be compared to one of the biggest names in rock and roll history.
After that frantic opening, Star Collector keeps the pace up through the next three songs, Rip It Off, Stranger (Renting Space in My Head), & The Silent Type. Then, we arrive at Super Zero Blues, which opens with an excellent bass line and maintains a more pedestrian pace giving us old geezers a chance to catch our breath. I also liked the instrumental interludes that highlighted their musical talents.
Hook, Line & Singer venture into using an acoustic guitar and a gentler pace, albeit with darker lyrics that slowly build towards some hope only to drop into the malaise again. I should also mention the play on words, I kept wanting to correct it to Hook, Line and singer. I can’t even blame autocorrect, it just my brain playing tricks on me.
Cayenne & Caramel gives us another neat play on words and disparate tastes that we wouldn’t normally expect to taste together. However, I was in Vancouver a few years ago and, I enjoyed a Jalapeno-flavoured gelato cone at La Casa Gelato. I imagine that would be somewhat like Cayenne & Caramel. At any rate, this is a sweet song that leaves us with a good taste.
The album closes with what I think is my favourite of the bunch, Funeral Party. Funerals don’t get sung about much. Arcade Fire named their debut album Funeral, but that’s all that comes to memory. Yes, I am sure you are quite capable of going on Genius or Apple Music and finding dozens more. I prefer to let my noggin do the googlin. There are many songs about death and dying, but for just funerals, there are fewer. The content of the song Funeral got me to thinking that we should celebrate a person’s life while they are still around instead of waiting till they are dead and we end up dancing in the cemetery and singing their virtues to only ourselves.
Funeral is also full of easter eggs. The Twelfth of Never is a tip of the hat to Johnny Mathis. The Great Hereafter could reference the 1997 Canadian drama film written and directed by Atom Egoyan. The Tragically Hip’s original version of “Courage” also appears in The Great Hereafter, and we Canucks can never get too much of The Hip. Twist This Joint To A Point, why the hell not? It’s legal in Canada now. “Turn up the Bunnymen tracks” shows us the excellent taste that Star Collector has in music, and I just bought the album Porcupine.”It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to… You would cry too if it happened to you!” A touch of Gore seems appropriate at a funeral. The song Funeral closes with a touring band’s nightmare, black ice on Highway Three near Grand Forks. Just a little south of nowhere.
So, there you have it—an excellent straight-ahead rock album that is easy to get pulled into, Hook, Line & Singer. When they tour through my neck of the woods, hopefully with no black ice, I’ll have to say hello to them and buy some merch. I like supporting musicians in general, and homegrown feels better for some reason. I hope you support them too. Here are some links to listen to them and buy their music.