Star Anna: Go to Hell – Spark and Shine
On her fourth album, Star Anna takes another step away from her beginnings as an Ellensburg sidewalk busker and alt country ingénue, and heads towards a more gritty urban sound with the brooding ten song album Go To Hell.
Star also leaves behind her long time band The Laughing Dogs, partnering with Tye Baille as band leader, co writer, producer and who plays amazing piano and keyboards throughout. Star does not play guitar on the album, focusing on that breathtaking voice, thus along with Bailie’s influence making the album more melodic and piano centric. But fear not, the album has plenty of guitar from axe man Jeff Fielder who kicks off the album with the swampy rebuke “For Anyone,” and is bolstered by the thumping rhythm section of Julian McDonough (drums), and Will Moore (Bass).
On the mysterious title track Jacques Willis joins the ensemble on vibraphone, elevating the macabre blues to a theatrical show stopper, supporting Star as she shouts from the rafters then whispers to our soul. Long time fans will enjoy the twang and grunge of the edgy rocker “Let Me Be,” and the country sing along “Mean Kind Of Love.” Many will no doubt be surprised by the pop leanings of “Power of My Love,” a super radio friendly track with an infectious hook that finds Star Anna emulating Adele more than Patsy Cline. The last two tracks on the album are pure fun as the group rolls out a rousing rendition of Tom Waits “Come On Up to The House,” featuring some greasy slide guitar and barrel house piano to accompany Star’s gospel fueled wail . The punked out “Smoke Signals,” follows like a bonus from the vault or a long lost Runaways track leading us to believe Star Anna may have even more tricks up her sleeve.
Rick J Bowen