You can't judge a book by its cover, or so the adage goes. Time and time again, I try to disprove this theory, but to no avail. I mean, with a band name like Star Sutra and a huge mushroom cloud as the artwork for the CD sleeve, I think you can understand my superficial disposition. Fortunately, Star Sutra is not the shit-stain band I had tried to convince myself of. In fact, Star Sutra's debut EP, Good Morning Afterglow, was a descent listen, tugging me through six tracks of pure rock and/or roll.
Most of Good Morning Afterglow is mid-tempo, coasting on upbeat musicianship and distorted guitars. Singer/songwriter Corey Post (formerly of Thomas Jefferson and the UFO Revolution) has emotive vocal melodies, resembling the vocal chords of Chris Martin (Coldplay).
The EP begins with "Archaeopteryx," a mid-tempo rocker, equipped with the all too familiar leading tone (major 7th) that dominates the music as if it were a Doug Martsch song. Tremolo guitars and cloudy vocals elevate the song to lunar heights, as beautiful feedback pierces throughout the cadence. The next two songs, "Morning Prayer" and "Skipping Records," are the band's featured singles, and with good reason. They are easily the most accessible and wouldn't seem horribly out of place on a college radio station. "Morning Prayer" shows off an abrasive, discordant bridge that stands as the most head-banging, devil horn sprouting moment of the album. "Skipping Records" is probably one of the weaker moments on the EP, as there is nothing that really stands out in the track.
"Dearest Pandora" is clearly the strongest track. In no less than six minutes long, the beautiful epic twists and turns like a dirt bike track. The band takes all that is great in alternative rock music and fudge-pack it into a song of epic proportions. With a snail-paced minor arpeggiated chord progression acting as the song's recurring motif, it's easy to hear why it's undoubtedly superior to the rest. Varying in tempo, mood, and style, the song continually entertains, displaying each of the quartet's most stunning performance. The title track closes the album on a somewhat bad note, as not even the amazing drumming could replace the visceral impact of the previous song. After such a grand song as "Dearest Pandora," it's hard to go back to the mid-tempo pop that fills the rest of the album.
After hearing the EP over and over, I can easily say I enjoy it more and more.
But the more I compared each song to "Dearest Pandora," the more I began to
realize that this band has so much potential but have yet to fully touch on it.
With a full-length album in the works for the fall of 2002, we can only hope
that the quartet opens their ears to the endless sonic possibilities and not
fall back on the mid-tempo, mediocre pop that dominates five-sixths of this EP. 1. Archaeopteryx
2. Morning Prayer
3. Skipping Records
4. Honeymoon in Samsara
5. Dearest Pandora
6. Good Morning Afterglow