Starfox Mulder is comprised of one main songwriter and instrumentalist George Schatzlein. In terms of the recording process, Schatzlein played every instrument other than the drums, which were played by Tyler Thom. Yet, while this is George’s solo project (while he’s not busy studying jazz guitar at Indiana University’s music school), he still wanted to bring friends and other talented musicians in on the process. The live musicians of Starfox Mulder are comprised of Victor Roa (guitar/backing vocals), Tyler Thom (drums), Galileo Asher (electric bass) and George Schatzlein (guitar vocals/occasionally keyboards).
Their nine-track release Egocentrist opens with “Saturday Senselessness.” A slowly crashing drum and a rapidly-descending guitar arpeggio create a chirpy, upbeat feel to a song all about Saturday. Far from another track along the vein of a Rebecca Black disaster, this is a quirky, indie-pop, upbeat song all about everyone’s favorite day of the week which can bring to mind Mac Demarco quite a bit. It’s full of twangy, uplifting guitar chord patterns, riffs and reverberating vocals romanticizing this day of the week. There are some intriguing musical moments within the track during which the vibe changes and fluctuating, dissonant guitar arpeggios rock up out of nowhere. The climax is certainly the high point; as the vocalist sings of it being “just another Saturday” a catchy synth line dances atop the guitar and drumbeat.
“Early Rise (Interlude 1)” is a soothing, trippy instrumental moment. Coming in at a little under a minute, it’s driven by a simplistic guitar line and distant synths attempting to rise out of the darkness but remaining timid and restrained. It was an interesting but unexpected decision to include this track in between two very upbeat indie-pop styled tracks. Still, I liked the music in and of itself, and the psychedelic, vague, mysterious elements were all there.
“Edward’s Allegory” is driven by surf-esque guitars, wailing vocals and a catchy, precise drum beat. The lyrics are all about love and “Wondering whether she’s the one for me / Time will tell.” Yet, it isn’t sad, melancholy or defeatist. There’s always that hopeful, chirpy tone created by the instrumentals that give the words a more powerful, uplifting feeling. There’s hope that all will be well, and Starfox Mulder never dwells in sadness for too long. The vocals, nonetheless, are mellow and melancholic. The style reminds me, at times, of My Morning Jacket or Grizzly Bear; two very psychedelic indie bands with tons of charisma yet softness in their singing style.
“et a l’espace (Celestial Somethings)” is a real change of pace. It’s driven by a slow beat, sizzling electric guitars rapidly-strummed and reverberating in the distance and a sense of unease yet tranquility combined into one. Those soothing, melancholy vocals have returned once more. The sounds are restrained and timid yet they somehow exude this sense of grandiose. It’s a psychedelic experience, and there’s no two ways of looking at it. Indie-psych is how I’d have to categorize this band if they could be categorized.
Starfox Mulder is a band with a lot of different sonic ideas in their head, and they’re just bursting to let it all run free. If they’ve more to come along the same themes as this album then I’ll be very excited to see what comes next.
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