starRo: Monday (self-released, 2016)October 16, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment
I saw starRo at SXSW a couple years ago at an outdoor show with Giraffage, and his proficiency at sample-chopping made for an astouding set. I haven’t listened to any of his recordings until now, and at this point he’s gone beyond simple beatmaking to writing fully-fledged pop songs. Almost every song here has a guest vocalist, and they cover a wide range. Opener “A New Day” is one of the few tracks without guests, and it showcases starRo’s abilities for Prefuse-style sample glitchery, but the other tracks are a bit more smoothed out and R&B-sounding. “Runaway” is an easy standout, with excellent vocals by Joyce Wrice and just a bit of contemporary electronic production weirdness. Of the dancier tracks, “I Wish” is kind of like a family-sanitized version of The Weeknd, and “My Oh My” (with Machinedrum collaborator Jesse Boykins III) is more Disclosuresque. “Can’t Take It Back” and “Do You Still Want Me” are a bit more downtempo with pretty straightforward, pleading lyrics. “Yams” is pretty silly and gets really annoying really fast, but songs like “Kiss Kiss” are more affecting and the slow, whispery “Song For Me” winds things down nicely. Available on Bandcamp.