“Lost in Time” has a shine that is unmistakably eighties, whether it is through the Cure-like guitars or the melodramatic vocals present on the track. The track is intense yet unmistakably depressing; the aforementioned guitar lines elicit sympathy and remorse for the lead male vocalist. Continuing the retro style of “Lost In Time”, the vocals move even more close to recreating those of Robert Smith during “Damn This Foolish Heart”. Incorporating a very inorganic synthesizer to this track, the result is that Stellastarr* have came to the plate with a track that would work equally well in the eighties as it does today. It is during “The Diver” that the band really incorporates some impressive new sounds; the deliberateness of the drums during the track are just one of these new directions, which are coupled with female vocals a la early-nineties goth rock.
The harder edge of “The Diver” really takes on part of the “Green”-era R.E.M. sound and “Joshua Tree”-era U2; just witness the coupling of jangling guitars with super-sonic vocals. By the time that “Sweet Troubled Soul” kicks into the speaker, the album title really comes into play; the songs contained within are not going to be the happiest that the band can come up with. The main issue on the disc is the argument that the two distinct sounds have throughout; there are the bombastic goth-dance classics like “The Diver”, and the Cure-like, more introspective tracks like “Precious Games”. To be honest, some of the goth-dance tracks become a little too repetitive for their own good, but are still done in a way that mesh well with the slightly darker fare on the rest of the disc.
What is nice to hear is the later-disc track “Born In A Flea Market”. Unwilling to show that they are in any type of rut, Stellastarr* comes forth with this track, looking forward (as it were) to the grunge movement by incorporating a noisy, Pixies-like guitar to the mix. The amount of ground the band has covered between CDs is nothing less than shocking. While the first disc was nothing to scoff at, the very cohesive blast, salvo after salvo that the band unleashes with “Harmonies For The Haunted” is something to truly blow listeners away. The tracks may hold a tremendous amount of influence by decaded-old music, but there is no room to say that this disc sounds the least bit dated. By playing this goth/rock style, Stellastarr* has hopefully opened up a new style of music.
Top Tracks: Born In A Flea Market, Damn This Foolish Heart
Stellastarr* Harmonies for the Haunted CD Review