REVIEW: I See Stars – End Of The World Party

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Artist: I See Stars
Album: End Of The World Party
Genre: Pop Rockcore
Label: Sumerian

I’m not sure why but all I see is Nintendo. Seriously, a whole well of arcade games and Nintendo. I’m a little confused but it’s remarkably enjoyable. It’s like getting lost in a diet version of Tron World, where they have a bit more pink or yellow and markedly less blue-black. I See Stars have been described elsewhere as “electronicore,” which is a fine way of capturing the diverse strands that bind their music together. It’s nothing altogether, rather various pieces of a glowing puzzle thrown into a neon pot and cooked on high for about 40 minutes.

I See Stars can be hit and miss. Case in point, the dueling vocals here don’t always seem to work. Auto-tune obviously fits this sort of approach well, complementing the various electronica elements underpinning the band, and the clean singing is sufficiently nasal and high-pitched to add some icing to the top of a very sleek cake. I’m not entirely sold on the growling or screaming however. It seems out of place with the atmosphere and tone pitched at the beginning. From the opening title track, to songs such as “Still Not Quite Enough” and “Wonderland,” the feel is more loose, colourful, and easygoing than the hardcore vocals would have one suggest. There is a nice, heavier breakdown towards the end of the latter song, but everything feels much more complete when the clean singing is used. The wanton ferocity seems a tad unnecessary otherwise, when the album seems more suited to cheer and good times.

It perhaps goes without saying that there’s not much by way of diversity throughout the album. The instrumentation itself is striking, and whoever spent hours in a studio putting everything together deserves kudos, but the songs themselves seem to follow a fairly set formula. Not that this is a bad thing – it’s a quirky and engaging affair, and it’s realized with flair and fervor. An apparent electronica string section puts in an appearance on “Home for the Weekend,” which creates a more theatrical and grandiose sound, sealed effortlessly with a soaring guitar solo. Everything flows so neatly into one another it’s hard to tell when the segue is. “It Will Be Up (High School Never Ends)” and “Upside Down” kick off more infectiously than most bands manage in an entire career, and the unrelenting enthusiasm and passion of the musicians and singers must be applauded. In short, it’s an album of kaleidoscopic delight.

The End of the World Party wouldn’t feel out of place on Nickelodeon (admittedly one for the older tweens), but this is part of its appeal. It’s quite shameless in its attempts to seep into your conscience and get your toes tapping. It’s endlessly appealing and makes for a fun, refreshing listen. It probably seems a little too chaste and innocent for the more zealous music fan, but hell, what are you doing here anyway? I’ve just moved country, I’m dazed, and this is just the sort of undemanding, raucously entertaining fare I needed. Just switch off your elitism, and come away with stars in your eyes. [That pun just typed itself and was totally unintended.]

Score: 7/10
Review written by: Grace Duffy

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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