Release date: February 19, 2013.
Published February 7, 2013 by Jeff Becker
You have to go taste it to know what it's really like. I've been front row and center during the past 15 months at headlining shows from Cut Copy, Washed Out, Passion Pit and Starfucker. Slapping albums from each group on the turntable for the all-too-obvious comparison and my money will continue to fall in the direction of the band with the ability to create melody and grooves. In that arena the Starfucker quartet from Portland, led by the Colin Meloy-lookalike, Josh Hodges, reigns. Yes, that means I like them more than Passion Pit. It's unfair to compare the bands, quite frankly.
Hodges is to Starfucker what Sam Beam is to Iron & Wine. That would be just about everything. With a notorious sharp ear for the basic hook, as a songwriter Hodges is able to bring a more mid-tempo groove to this popular brand of silky smooth electro/indie pop. It's one tiny notch above chillwave (Washed Out) but one full notch below the frenzied pace of bands like Passion Pit. Where Passion Pit dominates the dancefloors, Starfucker thrives in the mid groove. Other contemporaries such as the aforementioned Cut Copy and MGMT each carve out their own small niche of fans (many of which overlap) but those fans are very loyal to their electronic flavor of choice. My flavor is Starfucker and their tracks have as many hooks as the Beatles Revolver. Rarely does their pace become excessively frenetic and Hodges uses the slow-down, steady pace to build his grooves to fulfill his remarkable talent for finding the melodic hook. Songs such as "Say To You" and "Leave it all Behind" show the depth of Hodges abilities. Songs intermingle seamlessly from slow ballad style grooves to dancefloor punishment with almost a nonchalance and effortless ease. The sexy bass line on "Golden Light" that bubbles through the entire track is worth your $9.99 by itself.
While Miracle Mile is a logical and similar album to its predecessor Reptilians, Starfucker has wisely opted to continue the formula that made Reptilians one of the great, underrated albums of 2011. With a catalog that now runs four albums deep with no stinkers, Hodges is slowly building a body of work that is tarnished only in reputation due to the rather silliness (and stubbornness) of their name. But reputation be damned as the band bounces between the monikers of STRFKR and Starfucker. I've got bigger things to worry about and so do they. Take them seriously and you'll find a band with a sound and talent for songcraft that is near the top of the 2nd tier of the best of indie pop today.
Click here to see where Starfucker's Reptilians album finished in the top 10 albums of 2011
Click here for our review and photos of Starfucker at the Cave – in concert in Northfield, MN – 2011
1. While I’m Alive
4. Beach Monster
7. Fortune’s Fool
8. Kahlil Gibran
9. Say to You
11. Leave It All Behind
12. I Don’t Want to See
13. Last Words
14. Golden Light
15. Nite Rite