Showstar. - <.>

Bruce Turnbull 03/06/2007

Rating: 4/5

A rarity in itself, Dutch indie rockers Showstar's follow up to their commercially approbated debut “We Are Ready” couldn't be slicker. There is a degree of understanding weaving throughout the tracks as the album runs; the pure knowledge of what makes song writing a rewarding practice. The way the album progresses from dicey opener “Mad On Your Sister” to the likes of “Special Gun” and the austere, yet placated nature of “Superlover” is like a crisp salad of The Thrills, Ash and The Lightning Seeds, comfortably dressed with a slithering of Keane and Ocean Colour Scene. Tasty.

“<.>” - pronounced 'dot' - is an enchanted listen, with soft, progressive musical soundscapes draped over cold, almost brumal sentimentalities. Not afraid to crank up the volume when needed, Showstar effortlessly transform into a myriad of styles like a vigilant chameleon, waiting for just the right time to change and blend in with their surroundings.

Perhaps due to their previous support slot, Showstar have a tendency to sound very similar to The Thrills; every song is chock full of hard-edged guitars, counter balanced with shiny hooks, smart, sophisticated melodies and light, airy vocals. The band morph briefly into The Beatles for “Stereo Songs”, whilst the soft, delicate guitars and dreamy keys paint lyrical symphonies on the melancholic “Dan”, which in this case, is the strongest, most memorable track the album has to offer.

A very diverse collection of songs considering the genre, and one fans of indie/melodic rock needn't miss out on. Christophe Danthinne has the perfect voice for this kind of music, and far from being a major influence, his style and delivery will no doubt appeal to followers of the aforementioned bands. A powerful, dynamic UK release. What are you waiting for?