Mirror Signal Manoeuvre
Drunken journalists, stuck in a rut day-jobbers, council estate big mouths and life-serving gaolbirds. School ties, hand-knitted rainbow ponchos and fingerless gloves. Subject matter for the average Starky song is anything but ordinary but then this, their debut album, is no ordinary record. The album opens with Get Up, it's Wilson-esque melody and thumping bass line crashing into a chorus bound to make any ear prick up. There's barely time for breath before first radio single Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, with it's twin riffing guitars and sing along chorus is out of the blocks. 'All the working week we wait for Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.' Cool It, with it's gobbing old man lyric has the best guitar riff that Cobain never wrote and says all it has to in just over two minutes. Then there's Girl Talk, a track brimming with an almost Clash-like intensity, a perfect example of the band at it's best, urgent guitars, hook in the brain melody, an almost off the rails rhythm section. The song boiled down to it's most basic elements and all over in less than two and a half minutes. That's How I'll Know You is 'sharp as a pin and infectious as all f***' (I94 Bar Website), the efforts of a band ready to explode, captured the old way on a two inch tape in a single live take. Tabards is one of only a couple of reflective moments on the record. The song explores school days, a subject that seems to be a recurring motif throughout the album, before a final key change and release. After this mellower moment, the album reenergizes with a tribute to hip hop pioneer Jam Master Jay. Breakdance Glove's cheerleader, call and response chorus will have a thousand fingerless gloved hands wavin' in the air like they just don't care. What album would be complete without addressing the young man's blues? Love and loss is the central theme of Complicator. With it's Pet Sounds drum intro and counter point guitars, it's probably the most introspective moment of the album. Theme From High School is a call to arms. The classroom is a battlefield, a fight that often continues into life after school as the protagonist says 'I'm drawing moustaches and bi-focal glasses on pictures of teachers from old high school classes.' 'Let's run our careers onto the rocks tonight'. City Prison Doors is a track so full of life that it feels like the band could literally be playing in your lounge room. The album finishes with the swinging Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, a song that in comparison with others on the record, seems like a sprawling epic but still comes in at just over three and half minutes. 'Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre' is Starky's debut album and was produced by Australian punk rock legend and Radio Birdman Rob Younger and co-produced, engineered and mixed by Wayne Connolly (You Am I, silverchair, The Vines). It was recorded in just nine days and captures the excitement and energy that is synonymous with the band's live performances. PRESS: 'Every so often, a young band slips free of corporate constraints to kick the cages of musical conformity and poke at complacency with shards of broken drum sticks. In doing so, it reminds a confused public - how else to explain the Revenge-of-the-Nerds appeal of Clay Aiken? - that rock 'n' roll, at it's most glorious, is indeed a thing of danger and wonder, a joyful noise that disrupts the peace at every opportunity. Starky, a bash-and-pop quartet from Australia, is such a band. It's debut CD, Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre - all the more fab for it's jagged edges - seduces through invention overwhelmed by raw power. The disc was recorded in two days in analog - big points - and was co-produced by Rob Younger of Radio Birdman and Wayne Connolly of The Vines, Silverchair and You Am I fame. Starky's songs, courtesy of singer and guitarist Beau Cassiday, are a study in late-1970s power-pop. Echoes of The Smithereens and the knock-kneed Elvis Costello resound, but the material is as creative as it is instantly appealing. Clever chord changes lead to shimmering choruses. Screeching, squealing guitar solos are detonated at sky-high decibels. Hyper-melodic hooks are plentiful and stiletto sharp. The disc sprints by - it clocks in at about 30 minutes - as songs are performed with prudent urgency. The recording smacks of immediacy, ragged but very, very right, and Cassidy's narratives swerve between witty observation and out-and-out rebellion. The band flays away with youthful verve and confidence, the sort of thing that comes when a band believes, without doubt, in what it does - and knows that what it does is wondrously close to power-pop perfection.' 4 / 4 - Ed Bumgardner, Winston-Salem Journal 'Starky's first single for Laughing Outlaw exploded out of the CD player like a sonic bomb sometime in early 2003. 'That's How I'll Know' was a perfect piece of guitar pop. Six months later, the follow-up long player is here and it's no less impressive.' **** I94 Bar Website 'Considering the level of energy coming out of this shiny little piece of plastic, they kinda remind me of their Nashville soulmates The Shazam and thanks to the powerful, new wavish innocence, they could also be found walking through the 'supergrass', playing early Costello tunes. The single Saturday Night, Sunday Morning with it's masculine-Blondie feel, is much more Saturday night than Sunday morning, Girl Talk is not a Costello cover, though it can be filed under his early-daze reminiscing, as well as Theme From High School, which sets the mood for most of the album with it's high-octane fueled, supermelodic outburst, culminating in That's How I'll Know You.... Play it LOUD!!! ' - TorpedoPop Website 'Starky's dynamic, hook-laden songs have been popular on Sydney's live scene since 1999. On this debut album, Starky prove that they can punch out songs with smart lyrics and chanting singalong choruses delivered in an Elvis Costello-like tone, though without the acerbic sarcasm. It's an unashamed homage to great songwriting.' - Sydney Morning Herald 'Man oh man there's some freakin' Oz rock around at this very moment. You can add this brash Sydney four piece to this list. This is full on Sunnyboys-meets-Hoodoos-meets Supergrass in a demented half an hour of tight and melodic inspiration. I know it's half an hour long 'cos I've been playing it twice an hour since it fell into my hands. Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre is the debut album from Starky and was produced by none other than Radio Birdman legend, Rob Younger. Recorded in just nine days, it is a breathless run-through of feel good retro three minute singalongs. One track, 'That's How I'll Know You, which is easily the standout, was in fact captured in one live take. And one listen will have it implanted in your brain. Singer/songwriter Beau Cassidy has a unique voice. Trying to place it is kinda difficult. There's a bit of Elvis Costello, particularly on the track 'City Prison Doors' - which is as close to beautifully recreating late 1970's New Wave as you'll hear. He also sings with a refreshing lack of pretence about all manner of suburban rituals and tribulations, from girlfriend problems to wearing sweaters made by his gran. But the lyrics take backseat to the ballsy energy spread across this recording. The single 'Saturday Night, Sunday Morning' is by now means the most likeable cut but has been picked up by Triple J. Folks, if you like your rock music served up with a healthy nod to great bands of yore, grab this album. These are four guys who shake it up nice and loud but always with an ear to what sounds catchy and cool. There are a couple of more refined moments (Tabards and Complicator) that balance out the foot to the floor momentum and these work well. Soon enough the pedal is pressed again. The last track 'Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah' rounds things off in an organ-driven workout that is not a million miles away from The Charlatans.' - INPRESS.