Starry-Eyed Samurai is a band that originally formed in 2011 through the music partnership of Colin Bradford and Brian Brancheau (Brian Brancheau has since left the band and was replaced by Ezekiel Lords in 2013). They found the rest of the members through Craigslist including Mike Rimoin on keyboards, Erin Marion on vocals, and Jeffrey Thomas Vaudrin-McLean on drums. They didn't waste much time because this self-titled release Starry-Eyed Samurai came out in September of 2012 of and is a collection of 11 inspired songs that are progressive alternative rock, which is more than impressive. This album is a cohesive piece of art that blends in ambient lush soundscapes with gorgeous vocals and technically proficient instrumental work.
The album opens with a brief ambient intro called “Nymph” before launching into “Staggered.” “Staggered” creates a dreamy hazy soundscape, which is held together with incredibly creative bass work. The music alone is impressive but Marion’s vocals bring things together nicely. She reaches multiple emotions as her vocals are not only pretty but are sometimes filled with melancholy almost sounding desperate but then persevere with triumph as the song progresses.
“Tranquility Cab” has some creative drum work as Vaudrin-McLean utilizes his high-hat as a creative element. An exotic veil of bells, guitars, and bass sound majestic around the 1:30 mark but are uprooted by a bit more substantial wave of sound. There are a lot of things going on in this song that make it work but I have to say that they are at their best when they get into experimental ambient territory.
The album closes with “Cicada Tree” which starts off sounding like I was being abducted by aliens in the old west. Instruments slowly creep their way in before the band comes together at around the 40-second mark. The song is one of the slower ones on the album but it also is one of the most powerful. Marion’s vocals are especially powerful on this song when she sings “We're breathing out of your wounds until we find ourselves release in sleep .... like sheep.”
They achieved a lot in the short time they have been together. This album sounds professional, contains very few lulls and has a number of attractive, original elements that music hardcore music fans would dig. I can only imagine what their sound might be like in the future now that they have a couple of years under their belt.
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