Reviews Star Fucking Hipsters Until We're Dead

Star Fucking Hipsters

Until We're Dead

Let’s face it: a lot of punk rock comes across through the singer’s voice, and that voice often isn’t pretty: Johnny Rotten’s snottiness, Tim Armstrong’s slurs, Jello Biafra’s warble. When it comes to the Star Fucking Hipsters’ Sturgeon (Choking Victim, Leftover Crack), his voice is easily identifiable and his work brings associations of shock appeal and overhanded lefty politics. Star Fucking Hipsters take the gutter-ska approach of his other bands and mix it with a dose of pop-punk. What you get in the end isn’t the prettiest concoction, but is that what it’s really about? The concept behind the band started with Sturgeon and deceased Leftover Crack drummer Brandon Cevalier-Kolling. In short, the Star Fucking Hipsters is a male/female dual vocal band consisting of a rotating cast of NYC area punks.

The multiple singer style of Star Fucking Hipsters really seems to highlight just how bad his singing really is. Whenever the tempo is slowed, as in “Empty Lives,” he sounds like he was just pulled out of bed after three hours of sleep and a bottle of cheap whiskey - his voice is sluggish, harsh, and reluctant. In the faster tempo songs, such as the Third Wave ska-punk of “Snitch to the Suture,” his voice is far more adequate for the style. But Sturgeon only makes up half of the vocals. The real standouts are when Nico De Gaillo sings, such as on “Immigrants & Hypocrites” - the album’s best track - fast tempo punk with a tongue-twisting delivery and the one of the few choruses on the record that sticks with you.

Of course, while stomaching Sturgeon’s vocals, there’s also the matter of the lyrics. The forward and incendiary political nature is nothing new: cops are bad, don’t trust the government, etc. However, in “9/11 Was (an Inside Job),” the adolescent simplicity of the rhymes is ridiculous: “The towers falling down / Gave the U.S.A. a frown…Giuliani fixed the job / Abetted by the mob…” About the only positive to come out of this song is a fun illustration of W playing with some airplanes in the liner notes.

In the aforementioned “9/11 Was,” the music is simple pop-punk with a repetitive verse, chorus, verse. You know how most NOFX albums have 3-4 standout songs and then you skip the rest of the album? This song sounds exactly like that skipable 75%. It’s unimaginative and has the lyrical insight of early Anti-Flag minus the big words. On “The Path is Paved,” they follow a similar approach, but with a screaming, chant-like vocal delivery over the Cali-style guitars. As this release appears on Fat Wreck, it’s curious that they adopt the quasi-NOFX sound that defined the label through the 1990s. “Zombie Christ” and the other ska songs also remind me of Choking Victim.

It’s decent stuff, but I would lump it in with other Epitaph and Fat Wreck punk that is readily available and often interchangeable. When I was seventeen I would have found this a lot more enjoyable than I do now. The fact that the ska-punk songs are among the most memorable is definitely not a positive in my mind.

5.7 / 10Loren
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5.7 / 10

5.7 / 10

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