steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


Self-titled CD

Ghost Battery Records / Happy Happy Birthday To Me

Genres: indie pop, country rock, indie rock

PO Box 1035
Panama City, FL

Dec 8 - 14 2003

You don't get anything groundbreaking here, but there's no reason to complain either. This relatively obscure Texas four play a fun, infectious country-pop with just as much of a Sparklehorse sensibility in their sound as there is Western twang.  For instance, "I Just Can't Wait" has a significant amount of pedal steel involved, but is kept "pop" by way of some danged infectious hooks and those delicately gliding, It's a Wonderful Life-esque vocals.

"So Long, Farewell" and "My Big Secret," meanwhile, are exactly the type of perfect pop ditties you've come to expect from the consistently solid Happy Happy Birthday To Me roster.  The latter is one of the eight-track album's best; its smooth, breathtaking stretches of pedal steel wrap the listener up in a blanket of foamy Mercury Rev-cum-Nashville pop hooks. 

Although Starbag don't appear to have anything special going on at first (poorly-designed, eight-song albums aren't exactly a rarity these days), you listen to an album like this one - or even just one song, like the joyously uplifting "Take It From Here," which adds a bit of a folk-pop tinge to the record - and you know you're on to something good.  At this point, Starbag looks like they're at the start of what could be a long, exciting existence.  I'm listening. 


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 8 tracks, distributed by HHBTM, released 2003]