Stardeath & White Dwarfs - Wastoid

by Timothy Cooper Rating:7 Release Date:2014-07-29

Stardeath and White Dwarfs are an experimental rock foursome from Norman, OK. This is their second full-length album and comes after covering Pink Floyd and King Crimson albums. They have collaborated with The Flaming Lips (who lend a hand on one of the tracks on this album) as well as other rock groups.

It is clear that they draw some influence from the progressive rock they have covered in the past, as well as from The Flaming Lips. It should be noted that the lead singer Dennis Coyne is the nephew of Lips frontman Wayne Coyne. Another group I haven't heard them compared is Black Sabbath. They have some really nice, slow riffs that take me to that headspace.

The record begins with the pop and crackle you get from vinyl recordings. This sound is interspersed throughout the album, most prominently between tracks. I thought this was a fun element.

The music rocks out of the speakers very loud and in your face. At times this can be troublesome, as they play many different parts one on top of the other and it is hard to know where you should focus. My main gripe with this album is the production and mixing. At times the vocals aren't very clear (sounding a bit too muddy) and the instrumentation doesn't sound as sharp as I enjoy.

This can't be said for the album as a whole, though. I thought 'Sleeping Pills and Ginger Ale' sounded great and was perfectly mixed. The loud, chaotic songs are broken up sporadically by some nice airy textures and even a handful of softer songs.

When the album hit 'Luminous Veil', with its soft harmony vocals and slower tempo, it was a refreshing breather. The album dives right back in to hard-rocking on the next tune. The vocals are handled well and at times I'm reminded of some really great classic rock bands.

The instrumentation is just as heavy at times. I enjoyed the distorted guitars, and when the bass gets a chance to distort, the band creates some nice, deep grooves. My head was nodding throughout, they really craft some catchy, melodic riffs.

I find myself enjoying these experimental rock albums more as I get the chance to check them out. It is fun to hear an album which can straddle so many different genres. A good example of this is 'Sleeping Pills and Ginger Ale'; the main instrumentation is pretty rock-inspired, but that bass/synth groove is so electronic-based, I really enjoyed it.

The album closes with another softer tune, 'Surprised'. And that would have to echo how I feel about this album. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

Wastoid starts with some great riffs and ends a bit stronger then it starts. If you are fan of experimental rock you should definitely check this one out, though I think even if you're not, there are a few tracks on here that you just might find speak to you. All in all this is a pretty solid album.

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