DUBSTAR Disgraceful (Food)
No sooner was I moaning in the last Feedback about the (hopefully temporary) demise of Saint Etienne (and to add insult to injury Ive since heard that the equally excellent Northern Picture Library are also no more) but along come Dubstar, with a sound thats so almost like the aforementioned frothmongers at their best Im almost prepared to overlook the production presence of one Stephen Vague a.k.a. the man who ruined NewOrder. Dubstar weave Sarah Blackwoods Sarah-Cracknell-after-singing-lessons-meets-Kirsty-MacColl vocals around spangly synths and dub-lite basslines, often to startling effect, witness the opening track "Stars" which opens with just the slightest dab of "Funky Drummer", and the tower-block ennui scenario of the wonderful "Not So Manic Now". Also of note are the luscious and lovely "The Day I See You Again" ("If the man youve grown to bes/ more Morrison than Morrissey" - though whether its Jim or Van remains undisclosed) and a considered cover of Billy Braggs "St. Swithins Day". The other seven tracks are a bit less substantial, but no worse than Saint Etienne or Northern Picture Librarys less inspired moments. Highly recommended as one of the years first genuinely pleasant surprises...
DUBSTAR Goodbye (Food)
Dubstars debut album "Disgraceful" contained enough sparkly electropop gems to convince me that Id found the perfect band to fill the void created by the departure of Saint Etiennes talent - heck, they even looked the same, with a blonde female vocalist and two backroom boy muso types but my belated acquisition of their 1997 second album sadly suggests that theyve emulated the Etiennes trip down the rubbish chute of pop in a fraction of the time.
Theres nothing actually offensive about "Goodbye" unless youre rankled by the cover image, a rather literal interpretation of the phrase electric chair but equally, much like recent Etienne albums, theres nothing memorable here either. None of the fifteen tracks (fifteen! Not that theyre spreading their talent thinly or anything) contain so much as a hummable melody or thought-provoking lyric: at best theyre nice "Ghost", for example but much of the time they struggle to attain even that faint praise. And, from any band who had shown as much initial promise as Dubstar, is a real shame.Home