Known for their cross-dressing stage antics and ridiculous band name, Starfucker's actual music isn't quite as controversial. For the most part, this Portland synth-pop act sticks to their guns and crafts simple New Wave dance tracks in the vein of Passion Pit minus Michael Angelakos' mighty vocals. Starfucker's brand of electro-pop is heavily focused on the analog synths and keyboard textures and less on the vocals. This, by the way, usually works to their advantage, as Starfucker usually plays with some awesome synth sounds and intricate guitar work that give each of their songs a pretty unique feel. More than many other bands out there, these guys are great with their synthesizers and usually find great atmospheres in which to write their songs.
Even still, you can't help but feel a bit shortchanged when the vocals are pushed this far into the background in what would have been otherwise fully produced dance tracks like "Bury Us Alive" and "Death As a Fetish". The instrumental intros of these songs sound like they really want and deserve a properly confident singer and melody to appear, but unfortunately, remain barren. The songs where the vocals stand out a bit more like "Julius" and "Astoria" really show the songwriting potential of the band. "Julius" might be this album's "Pop Song", a sneakily catchy song who's understated melody will grow on you despite its lack of support. However, the solid melodies appear too far and between to give the album the proper balance it deserves.
The band calls their sound "dance music that you can actually listen to, that's good pop songs, but also you can dance to it." With a band statement like that, you can't expect the most original music in the world. For a band who chose their name based on how far they thought they could go with it, Starfucker doesn't seem too worried about making artistic statements or sonic breakthroughs. Even still, to break into the circle of indie synth-pop powerhouses like Passion Pit, Mat and Kim, and Robyn, these guys are going to have to learn to write a melody. Indie listeners have shown that they will always be down for another synth-pop dance album, but I have a hard time hearing how Reptilians is adding anything new to the mix.
Starfucker - Julius