On paper the type of songs that Kerosene Stars play might not sound that impressive. They essentially play pop music that likes to flirt with different genres. That description doesn't really do justice to the music because there are an ample amount of little things happening within these songs that make the sum greater than its part on their self-titled album Kerosene Stars.
The first thing that attributes to the likeability to these songs is Scott Schaafsma. He is the singer-songwriter/bassist of the group and has an attractive, inviting voice that works with the various sub-genres. On top of that the songs he writes don’t seemed forced or like he has an agenda. Despite the fact that the genres hop it feels as if the songs are heartfelt and coming from an honest place.
The first track is a piece of solid indie pop falling somewhere between The Shins and Pavement. Solid guitar riff check, memorable vocal melody check and solid rhythm section - check. Schaafsma mixes up the vibe a bit on the next song “Please Don’t Go” and “Destiny.” There's a distinct country flavor reminiscent of something you would hear from Wilco pre Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Schaafsma sounds a bit like Colin Meloy from The Decemberists on these two tracks.
“Holy” is arguably the highlight. It’s a triumphant yet melancholy song that in many ways felt like a traditional Celtic song. The addition of the fiddle worked out great. ”Call The Police” is a short, fun song that strikes quickly with poppy sounds and infectious lyric while the closer “Takes a lot” is a slow burning, rocker that has more in common with Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin than any other song on the album.
Kerosene Stars works on a number of levels but the main reason Schaafsma is able to genre hop a bit is that songs are good. Strip away the distortion, drums, etc. and you are still left with a good tune.
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