In 1994, Radiohead first became famous. That summer, a boy that I thought was cute sang "Creep" to me, and my love affair with Radiohead began. So when I was handed Stellarscope to review, I thought it might be something I would like, since they list Radiohead as one of their influences. But I'm not 14 anymore, and I'm a lot less likely to be impressed by boys posing as rock stars. Would someone please tap one of them on the shoulder and let them know the '90s ended almost 5 years ago?
Honestly, though, it wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for two things.
First of all, the recording quality is poor. In order to have your space rock truly touch people where they are vulnerable, it cannot sound like it is being performed in another room from them. Otherwise, it is a little boring and quite lifeless. Lifeless music is bad. I should feel like they've tapped into a special, secret vein in the tenderest part of my heart, but instead I feel like I can't get very good reception on the radio. The difference: the former will win me over and the latter will just confirm that this music is, similar to this EPs title, a waste of my time. The drummer might as well be beating on cardboard boxes, buckets, and pipes. And I can't even hear the lyrics.
Which brings me to the second problem with this EP: the singer really ruins everything. You can kind of forgive the bad recording quality, because you know these guys probably recorded it themselves. But the singer sounds so bored. There is, again, no life, no passion. He sings within the same octave the entire time, and probably within the same couple of notes. One of the beauties of Radiohead is Thom Yorke's erratic, wide-ranging voice, which charts the territory more completely than the music itself does. Stellarscope's singer, on the other hand, not only doesn't have much of a range; I honestly suspect he doesn't know how to sing. If no one in your band can sing, rather than pressing them into service and destroying your carefully-constructed melodies with their nasal droning, you should just accept the fact that you will be an instrumental band. Please.
Or maybe they could just be a Radiohead cover band, which would be slightly less awful than this mess.
Sixteen year old punk-ish boys can get away with crappy singing when the only audience is a fourteen year old girl whose already enamored. As soon as you step out of that equation, something has to change. The music must evolve; the boy must be able to sing; the audience must have some other motive for listening besides a surge of hormones. If it were still 1994, I would probably love Stellarscope, but that was 10 years ago. I've changed, and my tastes have changed with me. Stellarscope, it's time to grow up. 3/10 -- Eden Hemming Rose (25 May, 2005)