2 Feb 2010
ON THE DECKS # 10 MAJOR STARS
Return To Form
Drag City Records
Wayne Rogers and Kate Village have been responsible for some of the best and most brain damaged guitar psychedelia coming out of America for the past 20 years. Since starting Twisted Village Records (a record store as well as a record label based in Cambridge, MA) the two have released countless albums of overdriven guitar mastery in such incarnations as Crystallized Movements, Magic Hour, B.O.R.B, Vermonster, Wormdoom and Heathen Shame. Mind you, this is only scratching the surface…and I’m not even counting the solo albums by Wayne.
This their 11th release (9 albums and 2 7”’s over 10+ years) sees the band…plugging away at what they do best…RAWK! For me, it’s all about the guitar in this band. The jams, the heavy rhythm riffery, and how they interplay with each other. I don’t want to undermined the rhythm section because without one as heavy or solid the guitars would not be able to float as they do. All the songs seem to be structured in somewhat the same way. Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge (which in this band translates to free form FREAK OUT!) verse and/or chorus end. Of course this is an over simplification because the music this band makes is so dense and chaotic… yet it’s always together.
Highlights include the opening track Better Stay Down a straight to the point burner, the reflective Only Now The Flames Blow Out, the swaggering chug of Low Grade, and the frantic Run From Me Devil.
During their career, Major Stars have changed line-ups once. This saw Tom Leonard moving from bass to guitar, Wayne opting out of vocal duties and the addition of Sandra Barrett (vocals), Dave Dougan (bass), and Casey Keenan (drums). This change didn’t change the direction of the band…it just made their sound more tough. At first Barrett’s vocals were a bit too much for me to take but now having a few releases with her under their belt, her vocals add another texture to their bombastic sound. They are never doubled up or affected…just one track sweet and clean.
The songs on Return To Form seem more composed than some of the previous outings by this sextet, but that does not detract from the all out mayhem this band conjures up. No studio gimmickry, everything sounds natural and alive. This is a breathing blob of aural ecstasy! Shape shifting every damaged cell in your mind. Let the RAWK wash over you and feel dirty for it! You will thank yourself in the end.
For more information on Major Starts and Twisted Village go here:
One last thing I would like to add is that if you are or become a fan of the Major Stars and/or Twisted Village…I highly suggest tracking down a copy of Luxurious Bags “Frayed Knotts” (this is Tom Leonard’s… one of the guitarists…project from the 90’s). It’s lo-fi damaged psych wizardry at it’s best.
Dave W (White Hills)