CD Review of Drowaton by Starlight Mints

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starstarstarno starno star Label: Barsuk
Released: 2006
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At first I thought the album cover was one of those crazy eye picture jobbies that when you look at it you see a ship or a puppy or something. I was never able to see those things. It’s probably because my vision is pretty good. I don't need glasses or anything. I'm convinced that only people with poor vision can see those things. Actually, I think that whole scene was a conspiracy. I think they wanted so badly to see something in those pictures that they made the whole thing up.

Sadly, I kinda feel that way about this record. Dude, it seriously bums me out, ‘cause I love the record label that put out this new Starlight Mints record. I mean, I really love Barsuk in an almost uncomfortable way. Did any of you ever hear the band the Prom that was on Barsuk a few years back? Yup, I even really liked that record when everybody else ignored it. Hell, I also liked the All-Time Quarterback record and that record was viewed by many as a bit of a turd.

I don't know, I just feel like the guys in Starlight Mints are trying too hard or something. I think this record was recorded at John Vanderslice's studio and the track "Seventeen Devils" kinda sounds like a Vanderslice cut that didn't make his latest record (btw: I really liked that record too. See, I told you, I really love this label). Then, to make it worse, they drop an instrumental called "Rhino Stomp" in the middle of the record. Way to keep the momentum going guys...damn.

I guess they’ve been compared to the Flaming Lips and stuff, but I don’t really get that comparison. Maybe it’s the fact that the tunes don’t necessarily have the same kind of “pop sensibility” that a lot of the other Barsuk bands garner like Death Cab or that early Rilo Kiley record. Maybe they spent a bit too much time on the sound of the record and not enough time on the content. It happens when you record at a great studio. If the label cuts the recording budget on the next record, I’ll bet their sophomore effort will be incredible.

Honestly, maybe I just have to keep playing this record over and over again until it grows on me. I'm willing to do it. I'm totally willing to commit that kind of time to any band that's on this label. And even though this record didn’t really hold its weight, Barsuk has got a bunch of great releases coming out in the next few months. Seriously, wait until you guys hear the new Smoosh record. And the new Long Winters record. I've heard singles from both of those records, and they're awesome. Like I said, maybe the next Starlight Mints record will be awesome. I'm game for at least giving it a try.

~Josh Preston