We at Given to Sound are really excited about a new Manchester band called Daystar. There. That’s the first sentence done. It was a tricky one, because the Manchester thing brings with it the baggage of Madchester and ghosts of bands that swaggered into many a music buyer’s heart and strolled off having made a phenomenal impact. It may lead many to read Manchester band and switch off, preferring to cling to the memories instead.
Daystar are a five piece Manchester band with influences such as The Buzzcocks, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Joy Division, The La’s, The Kinks and The Sex Pistols. It’s easy to get protective over that and think that you’ve heard it all before. One recently defunct Manchester band with brothers in it told us over and over that the same bands influenced them. Then you’ve got, The Stone Roses; a Manchester band that made self-imploding cool well before Noel and Liam, they also had a similar list of influences.
It’s okay to have those influences, those bands made good music. It’s not the influence, it’s what you do with it that counts – and Daystar do something good.
There has to be a band out there with the balls to take back the Manchester scene. Daystar have stepped up.
The band; lead singer Simon Monaghan, bass player Ste Woods, Ryan Arnfield on lead guitar, Jack O’Connor on rhythm guitar and Tom Mallas on drums. Formed in 2009, these boys have been making a tuneful racket in the name of live music for just over a year now and the buzz around them will only get louder in the time ahead. Read their own accounts of the attention they’ve got on radio, and television; it’s all on their site for you and we recommend that you do look because everything is written from that really nice point of view where each song on the radio, television interview and even a new follower on Twitter, is a big deal.
Of course there wouldn’t be an article to read if there wasn’t an album out there for your listening pleasure. Available to download now (Buy from Amazon or ITUNES) the album kicks off with Slip and Dive; a few seconds of bass, cymbally drums and nice guitar work sends you one way but the vocal may surprise in that it’s not downbeat, melancholic or rough. The singer sings well and can hit actual notes. It’s a good opener, catchy; it’s got bits of the Charlatans in there for me too. This is a feel that continues through tracks like Don’t Need This, which has a yearny vocal spiralling over it and leaves room for some melodic guitar parts towards the end. Just as the bass work gets your attention, the song is over.
The band seem to stick around the three minute mark for a lot of the tracks (Slip and Dive-2.54, Off Our Heads- 3.02, Sleeper – 2-53), there is absolutely nothing wrong with this but they could perhaps go a little further down the road on more songs, the first two especially. The song length isn’t much as criticisms go and maybe live, or on future recordings they will have the confidence to stretch out more often because they aren’t out of their depth when they do.
The song Because You Said is an album highlight, it’s got a great intro and parts that remind me of Big Mouth Strikes Again style Smiths and I hear a touch of New Order in parts too. This song and the next, Paralysing, show that when they ask for our attention on the longer songs, there is enough to keep the listener interested; Paralysing, gives us an ending that’s all about the guitars.
The album closes with the dreamy Up Here which is about taking it easy, finding that place where everything makes sense and the world just drifts by. It’s a good way to end the album because it encapsulates the whole album; Guitar work with melody, vocals with harmony and music that ultimately puts a smile on your face.
Overall, the influences are there, you can hear Kinks, Second Coming esque Stone Roses (Ten Storey Love Song), Stephen Fretwell (Run), the Charlatans and whoever else you want to look for. It takes absolutely no effort to dismiss a band for labels such as Manchester or the influential bands they have in their record collection; no effort, given that the band give you all this information on their website.
Do yourselves a favour, use that as a starting point and see where the band takes you from there. The music is good, there are definite high points. There are important points to bring up here, personally speaking this album creates the desire to see this band and the music done live AND there are plenty of avenues for future material; part of me would like to see if the jangly happy melodic stuff goes out of the window if one day they get really pissed off and drunk but maybe that isn’t them. Life isn’t always grim up North and the music doesn’t have to sound filthy, vocals don’t have to snarl and nor do they have to whisper either.
The whole catergory and definition thing can scare a lot of bands in to trying to sound like something they aren’t because the comparisons would crush them but there has to be a band out there at some point, that has the balls to take back the scene. Daystar have stepped up and good luck to them.
Terry Christian says good things about the band too, but don’t let that put you off. No, go, watch the video, read the band in their own words at their website and then download the album. Start the journey with them, we know where they have come from but who knows where they are heading. That’s the fun part!