Monday, January 21, 2013

The Chinese Stars - A Rare Sensation

A few months back, I had the pleasure of meeting Justin Pearson, the mastermind San Diegian punk-atic of such legendary bands as The Locust, The Swing Kids, Struggle, and the headmaster at forward-thinking punk label, Three.One.G.  After hanging a bit, talking music, biz, and old school San Diego punk and punk crossover bands (of which my brethren Pope was a member of Blind Justice) I was thrilled to get home and find a goody bag of Three.One G loot waiting for me.  The Chinese Stars was the first LP I pulled out of the bag, and damn if it didn't set my Saturday morning into fine motion.

Made up of former members of Arab on Radar (vocalist/guitarist Eric Paul and drummer Craig Kureck), former Six Finger Satellite bassist Rick Ivan Pelletier, and guitarist Paul Viera, what we got here is simply a bouncy blitz of angular dance punk the likes of which I must have invested in my DNA.  Think a weirder Gang of Four or a noiser Automatic Automatic (first album) or even a much artier apbA Rare Sensation bops and jumps and thumps and screeches from start to finish with some of the best damn post-punk bass lines I've heard in ages.  I mean listen to that bass!  Anyone who knows me and my love of bands like apb knows what that bass can do to me.  When really good post punk leads with those massively thick, funky bass lines, I'm in heaven.

Fortunately, there's more to The Chinese Stars than just that bass.  Following the Gang of Four template, the guitar here is more filler, tone and texture.  It doesn't play riffs so much as create noise to fill in the spaces.  But it does it all perfectly, without ever becoming too overwhelming or oppressive.  It never swamps the spine of that bass riff.  Vocals are nasal and whiny but fit never annoy, and best of all the guys manage to package all that darkened punkish funk and noise with enough melody and structure to create real songs that really kick ass.

This may not be for everyone, but my ass couldn't stay in the chair longer than 30 seconds after plopping this platter on.  Gorgeous multi-colored vinyl from one of the great American punk indies.  If the bands I mentioned appeal to you, and you don't mind the music being a tad left-of-center towards the angular side, you gotta check this one out over at Three One G.


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