All Stars – Better Alone

All Stars
Better Alone

When one sees All Stars as the name of this band, their expectations are likely to be high, and rightly so. After all, this name lends itself to some questioning. Are these guys really the Sammy Sosas of rock? Not quite. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t try.

The All Stars play a variety of poppy rock that, although not wholly unique, is quite easy on the ears. Although the songwriting isn’t revolutionary by any means, the band makes up for it in the enthusiasm department. They seem utterly on cloud nine while playing this material, and the feeling shines through.

One of the main reasons for the success of the sound is the vocals of singer Mary Christmas. Although her voice isn’t sensational, she does an adequate job of meeting the tone of the music halfway. Her voice feels seasoned, as if she truly feels this material.

The opener of the record, “The Happiness of Being Alone,” is a candy-coated mixture of pop and gangly, REM-style indie rock. It’s not exactly the most original structure in the world, yet somehow one’s ears are quite accepting of the material. “Blue Star Eyes” furthers the pace of the previous track but adds an 80s synth-pop feel to it. It sounds kind of strange at first, but it’s easy to get into the catchy groove of the song. The tone is somewhat like the feel of a “Ray of Light” era Madonna. “I Would Rather Take You” is akin to the previously mentioned tracks with the addition of a nicely layered guitar line that really makes the song a winner. “Turbonegro” is one of the more upbeat songs on the record and the dual vocals of Christmas and the guitar player flow nicely together. They should try this technique more as the combination of their voices sounds rather nice.

While the All Stars don’t quite match up to the expectations of their name, they do give their aspirations one heck of a try.