The five-piece, self-proclaimed “post-modern rock band” Stellar Vector are set to release their debut full-length album, A Flock of Cowards, in April and it would be well worth your time check it out. While the Minneapolis-based group claims to be creatively influenced by the likes of David Bowie and Peter Gabriel, I can’t help but feel that fans of more recent bands like Of Montreal, Muse and the Cold War Kids will all find something they like in the sound of A Flock of Cowards. The album has a playfulness similar to Of Montreal but also a raw vibe similar to Death Cab’s “Meet Me at the Equinox.”
The synthesizer-infused, 12-track album starts out blasting “Buffalo Jump” with clean, ear-tingling guitar riffs that channel classic rock yet combine strong, edgy vocals that add a modern tweak. The second track,”Lacking Self-Control,” is a fantastic example of a musical narrative. One moment you are tapping your foot to a near reggae beat; then the chorus hits, picking up the pace and lending to a more commercially-appealing alternative rock sound. In a sense, the instrumental work really allows you to “feel” the story behind the sound as the song progresses.
The band is very upfront about their narrative-driven, lyrical styling. I could almost hear a hint of Ben Folds in their upfront and at times sarcastic lyrics. There is an especially strong lyrical resemblance on “E.D.” with lines like, “No I don’t wanna be your friend/but I know that I can’t pretend/I’m a pretty damn good actor baby.”
A favorite surprise on the record was the incorporation of a few keyboard-driven melodies on songs such as “Titanic Work Ethic” and the fun little album-ending tune, “The Not So Hidden Song.” Clearly the song titles alone should be enough to get the potential listener a little intrigued as to what this group is really about.
As you listen to the record, you can’t help but feel your ears smoothly move in and out of the different decades of rock. They have mastered the art of taking the best from the past while looking to the future. They embody a post modern success.
Overall, Stellar Vector has succeeded in achieving a truly high-quality independent album. A clean and polished recording is already putting them miles ahead. They have the kind of sound that could really get a film music supervisor excited, as great soundtrack music. Keep an eye out for these guys. I have a feeling they won’t be staying in the Midwest for long.