In the earlier part of this decade, four post-punk-inspired bands of note from New York came to the attention of the general public: the Strokes, Interpol, the Rapture and Stellastarr*. Of the four, Stellastarr* probably received the least amount of hype, but with the release of its latest album, Civilized, the group is perhaps proving the most durable. Minus the beautifully icy pop of its earlier songwriting, the band's latest compositions reveal a love for '60s R&B and the eclectic sound of early new-wave outfits like the Cars and XTC. The quartet takes shining guitar melodies and combines them with buoyant rhythms to make each of its songs an anthem of expansive hopefulness and triumph over sadness and strife.


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