Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Dec 2nd, 2022

What Strange Beasts: Starlight’s Castaways

Starlight’s Castaways
What Strange Beasts
(Starlight’s Castaways)

As the kids say, there is “a lot to unpack” on What Strange Beasts’ new 26-song Starlight’s Castaways album. But it’s worth taking out for a listen…and more than once.

What we get here is tight, sometimes poppy, but certainly well-played and sung prog-rock pop songs interspersed with spacey key interludes between the more traditional songs.

Jonathan Maxwell handles drums, Benjamin Ruby the-ever present synth, Aaron Kremer is a sometimes up front (and in a good way) bass and synth player, while Alley C. wails and subtly adds colorful understated guitar.

It’s important to note that Maxwell, Ruby, and Kremer all sing, and their spot-on harmonies make a powerful mix here along with their strong songwriting and mature playing.

The title track is the first real song after an opening synth wash after the first 29 seconds on “A Call To Lights.” I love how the title track moves at a breakneck speed, as well as the nod to super-duper commercial 80’s pop rock with a smidgen of a punk undertone. From the jump here, the strong harmonies of What Strange Beasts are certainly present.

Alley C.’s clean guitar wailing on “Meteor Bath” and “Scattered Skies” with its 180-degree turn from rockin’ full out are standouts here. “One Time Pad” a nice change-up later interlude featuring acoustic guitar and light synth lead, and some far-off voiceover. And Alley’s electric picking, Kremer’s growly bass, and interesting percussion work from Maxwell, fuel “No New Messages.” I’d say you’ll find great music after a deep long listen of Starlight’s Castaways.

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What Strange Beasts: Starlight’s Castaways