The Stan Laurels - Death Of The Sun
I'm sure that anyone who listens to Death of The Sun, the fine new album from The Stan Laurels will think of the word “Beatle-esque” and perhaps speak it out loud. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Everyone from ELO and XTC to Jellyfish and Matthew Sweet have been hit with the B-word. And really since there's relatively nothing new under the sun, it's not hard to trace most bands back to the Beatles or Rolling Stones or both. To The Stan Laurels credit, they still manage some originality and Death of the Sun proves to be an enjoyable listen.
A big part of the success of this album is that it's more like a third-generation descendant of the Fab Four, influenced by diverse alternative-rock sounds like those made by the Flaming Lips and Apples In Stereo. Piano has a strong presence on most of the songs, and the band isn't afraid to pursue long instrumental interludes and short stretches of weirdness and noise that are never too weird or too noisy.
“Love Birds” provides a nice intro and the drums bring a cool shift in the bridge, while “Klaatu” is a catchy mid-tempo groove that might sound at home on a Spoon album. “Samaanya” is a bouncy tune that gives way to a piano/strings interlude before coming back to the song with interesting results.
The title track is a flute-piano-harpsichord instrumental that goes into a foggy wind sound before segueing into “Never Mind,” one of the albums standouts. Two minutes in, it goes to a choppy beat that bounces nicely and provides a cool change up.
Toward the end of the album, the epic and steady “Birth of the Sun” features a strange-but-interesting outro. After a bit of silent space, the true album closer is “Lullabye of Awakening,” which proves to be the perfect after-thought instrumental to end an album, complete with vinyl static.
I found some of the vocals to be a tad droney after a while, and perhaps this album would be better if it was a little more concise, say 10 tracks instead of 13. But thanks to solid production Death of the Sun is still pretty good and manages the difficult task of not burning despite coming so close to the heat of the source that once warned “Here Comes the Sun.”
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on 2010-02-16 cuthbert Said:
A science fiction nod to the past, filled with Mellotron flutes, complex arrangements, elegant harmonies, and a Beatlesque flavor - and yet it all manages to sound fresh and new. If you enjoy psych/baroque/power-pop, be sure to treat yourself and get 'Death of the Sun' - The Stan Laurels are the real thing!