(Badman Recording Co.)
According to the band's publicity materials, the name Starfucker is "not so much a rejection of the seriousness in the music industry, but a commitment to the playful spirit of their music." Good to know. But beyond the overly fluffy PR-speak for what's really just a great, catchy-as-hell, bound-for-glory name, there is some kernel of truth: Starfucker's self-titled debut is light and playful, but there's nothing unserious about their sound.
Written and recorded as the solo studio project of multi-instrumentalist and singer Joshua Hodges, Starfucker combine airy falsettos, lazy guitars, live and sampled drum breaks, and digitally limitless layers of multitracked vocals, synths, and effects to achieve something like the fey psychedelia and glammy pop stomp of current media darlings MGMT. But Starfucker's best hooks are more insidiously catchy than anything that duo has dreamed up, and their album is more omnivorously informed.
"Florida" combines insistent snare and hand-claps with roller-coasting guitars and some mind-expanding samples from an Alan Watts lecture. "German Love" begins with backward-masked guitars borrowed from Ratatat before introducing a vocal harmony that sounds snatched from early Pinback. "Myke Ptyson"'s faint lead vocal, breezy guitar, and buoyant synth recalls Islands' Nick Thorburn, while "Laadeedaa" deploys racing ukelele, acoustic d&b fills, and warm suboscillator bass in service of Beck-like mumble. The pillowy electric pianos and a dusty drum loop of one-man soul ballad "U Ba Khin" are part yacht rock, part YACHT.
But Starfucker synthesize these references skillfully enough to avoid pastiche, instead crafting a fresh, frequently surprising sound of their own. The rhythms and melodies are memorable, and the production and arrangements are impressive without sounding overly polished. Live, the band expand to a trio, with Hodges joined by Shawn Glassford on rhythm and Ryan Biornstad on guitars, keyboards, and record- scratching—and they look to put on quite a show.
Starfucker perform Sat Nov 1, Vera Project, 7:30 pm, $7, all ages.