Stellar Young know how to put out a quality record, and if that wasn’t obvious through their previous work, it is glaringly so when listening to Vessels. “The Reunion” comes in slowly, almost in a tantalizing way. By the time it truly begins, the anticipation for the album is already in place. The desperation that exists is raw, and only further emphasized by the brilliant dynamic in range from John Glenn (vox/keyboard). Everything about this track reminds me of my first rock show as a kid; standing in the venue and feeling awe-inspired by the bands in front of me.
There is a continuation of nostalgia on “Hitting Reset,” standing out as strikingly catchy, with a building instrumentation that adds and edge to the track. The vocal harmonies crooning, “Love,” through the speakers are enchanting, pulling listeners in even further, much like the first single, “Nomad.” As far as singles go, has a brilliantly impulsive feel behind it, driven by well-timed beats, vocal harmonies, and stunning guitar (Erik Flora). Lyrically and musically, it packs a punch, and sounds as though it could be the battle cry between lovers in an indie film. The imagery in every line is powerful, to a degree that is almost overwhelming (see also “Keep Up”).
Stellar Young effortlessly put forth an album that is not just something nice to listen to, but a piece of work that stands out amongst the rest. The variety on this album alone shows both an artistic development, as well as personal growth; from the Warped Tour worthy (“Helen I”) to almost indie-rock-dance-tech quality (“Box of Echoes,” “Former Life”), Stellar Young are difficult to box neatly–they splash all over the page, creating a unique, well-crafted style. “Little Specs” has a softer style, with a steady drum beat (courtesy of Curt Mulick), that seems to add to the overall pulse of the track. The more I listen to it, the more certain I am that this is my favorite song on Vessels, just for how perfectly orchestrated it sounds, while still maintaining a raw vulnerability; the humanity on the album. A close second is most likely “We Got Away,” which takes perfection to a new level, acting as the perfect stage both for Stellar Young’s storytelling abilities, but also the depth of their music.
However, if we’re going to talk about instrumental prowess, let’s take a look at “Red Lights,” which is filled with fast-paced, electrifying tones, and a classic, edgy, “screw you” attitude, transitioning into a haunting bridge that showcases both Glenn’s vocal abilities and Dave Parker’s skills on the bass. Lyrically, “Amity” is the standout, sounding fun, silly, and upbeat in an irresistible way, but with deeper meaning to the lyrics, as well as a hopeful sound that carries through, making perfect sense in the current mad state of the world.
Vessels has a sound that I could only imagine the musical lovechild between Anberlin and fun. would. Stellar Young prove to be a wildly talented group, not that there was ever any doubt about that. The album is beautifully executed, with a powerhouse presence and an undoubtable quality to it. More of this in 2015!
For more on Stellar Young, please click here. Vessels will be released on December 16th.