If you didn’t know the band Star Rover, you missed out.
An angular, caustic take on indie pop, the Edinburgh trio were a delight both live and on record. Helmed by Davy King, they dipped somewhere in the musical palette between Sebadoh and Aztec Camera, with jangly guitars met by wry, seasoned lyricism.
For my money, they were an incredibly underrated band. Their two full-length LPs, with the right backing, could’ve easily slotted into the modern Scottish indie-pop canon, with irresistible hooks, a driving rhythm section and King’s honest, unabashedly emotion-driven wordplay.
Just as well, then, that Davy has picked up his strat once more to create Hometime, a more sonically expansive, starry-eyed prospect.
This time, armed with more roomy, experimental production, King’s trademark motifs are there; unpredictable chorus melodies and guitar lines as riddles but the addition of sparkling pianos and bubbling synths.
‘Andy’s Song’ takes you down the indie-pop path until a key-changing chorus and battering drums diverge you somewhere entirely different. Then a twinkling middle-eight submerges into silence. It’s ambitious song-writing within the parameters of the genre and is worthy of repeat listens.
Then, one morning, ‘Horizons’ arrived in my inbox. Out on the 22nd, it’s the best example yet of King’s pop-centric direction:
“Realising that Hometime could be anything I wanted it to be, I’ve been trying to create a ‘bigger’ sound than the 3 instrument blueprint we’d (mostly) kept to in Star Rover.
“Taking inspiration from people like BC Camplight, Kevin Krauter and Angel Olsen, it is still Pop, with a capital P, but keeping an eye on trying some leftfield ideas that I’m less familiar with.”
The crunchy, trebly guitars are still very present in ‘Horizons’, but there’s a swirling synth which aims straight for the pit of the stomach. It’s unsuspectingly visceral, an unerringly catchy piece of music with unravelling layers throughout its four and a half minute run.
So relevant to the world in 2021, it’s an ode to feeling lost and directionless. Its yearning, aching chorus of being “so far from my space and time” should feel relevant to anyone living through the last two horrible years, yet it feels sonically optimistic somehow. Despite the echoed vocals tending to that gnawing sense of loneliness, there’s a warmth in King’s delivery that makes for an appealing contrast.
‘Horizons’ lands on the 22nd of January, with an accompanying video.