ALBUM REVIEW: Starbenders – Love Potions

Release Date: February 14th 2020
Label: Sumerian Records


Starbenders are set to dazzle with their sophomore album, and debut release on internationally renowned indie label Sumerian Records, ‘Love Potions’ – suitably released this Valentine’s Day.

Not that you need much persuasion to fall for the glam rock foursome, as the briefest of listens will surely have you hooked and wanting more.

Since their inception in 2014, Starbenders have unabashedly bent the rules which govern alternative music. Taking in influences from glam punk, pop, and gothic electronica has allowed them to carve out an unusual niche for themselves. Vocalist/guitarist and founding member Kimi Shelter is demonstrably one of the most versatile performers of her scene. Whether she’s softly crooning to the ambient electronica of ‘Push’ or sultrily growling over the pop-rock chords of ‘Bitches Be Witches’, she sounds good.

Her band do much more than support her singing: her voice blends between and compliments their instruments as if it were one itself. With musicians as multi-faceted as herself, no genre is off limits from incorporation. Now, with ‘Love Potions’, they have encapsulated the energy and emotion that Starbenders feed into their music perfectly, not least because it was recorded live wherever possible.

Where others might slice and splice their songs together for recorded release, Starbenders allowed their on stage chemistry to lead the charge in the booth. The result? Palpable energy condensed into studio recordings, which bring a little bit of their psychedelic live show to your sitting room.

Guitar lines from Kriss Tokaji seamlessly transition from classic rock sensibilities to wailing glam solos. Keeping rhythm and time are bassist Aaron Lecesne and drummer Emily Moon, who add depth and dimension to these mood-hopping tracks. The obsessive romance of lead single ‘London’ wouldn’t be half as poignant without that driving, gut-churning beat from these two.

The fear that Starbenders might be dismissed by those who value sound at the expense of aesthetic is all too real – this lot really are a sight to behold. But let Starbenders be a lesson to those few folks that looks may not be everything, but they’re certainly not nothing. Starbenders achieve sonic richness thanks to their ridiculously wide range of influences, and you know what? They look good doing it.