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The Push Stars


The Push Stars - After The Party
Capitol, 1999 – Pop

For those of you who have not heard them yet, The Push Stars are a Boston-based trio whose music has appeared on MTV’s “Real World,” ABC’s “All My Children” and in last summer’s comic crotch-biter “There’s Something About Mary.” After years of relentless touring and acclaim, the band has released their major label debut and is ready to go big!
Those who have touched The Stars will hear many familiar sounds on this album, including a reworking of “Any Little Town,” which first appeared on the band’s self-produced EP Tonight. The consistent beauty of Chris Trapper’s songwriting is also made evident in the paternal devotion “Cinderella” (reminiscent of “The Other World” from the band’s first record Meet Me At The Fair) and also within the album, with “Too Much Pride” and “Everything Shines” skipping along similar musical lines. “Moving Target” and “Cash” both open mellow, but soon explode into percussive powerhouses in which Trapper’s cigaretted vocals act as the smoke from bassist Dan McLoughlin and drummer Ryan MacMillan’s rhythmic guns. Both a collection of older sounds and a look to the future, Party offers an a-list of musical guests, from the pop fun of the banjoed “Minnesota” to the adolescent romance of “Back To The Party” and the aching loss of “Meet Me On Main Street.” This Party is a complete pop soiree in one CD.

- Matthew S. Robinson
© 1999 M. S. Robinson, ARR

The Push Stars - Meet Me at the Fair
14 Track CD
Recorded at Dreamland Studios, Woodstock, NY
(one track recorded live at "The Fine Line," Minneapolis, MN
Mixed by Eric Rachel at Mix-O-Lydian Studios, Lafayette, NJ and Dan McLoughlin at Dreamland Studios
Produced by Eric Rachel and The Push Stars

Welcoming listeners with a mellow piano "Prelude," the Push Stars' debut album quickly kicks into the strummy pulse of "Me." Despite a few vocal squeals, the paced opener (which includes the clever innuendo "grabbed the lotion at my side and I took it for a ride it won't forget") is promising, and its promise is not betrayed.
Musically, the album features a stylistic mélange ranging from the plodding of "The Other World" to the rockabilly jangle of "One Summer Day" and "Well Anyway." Thematically, the album is similarly diverse. Whereas tracks like the simply brilliant and beautiful ballad "Shy" and the intimate live recording of the caressing devotional "Wild Irish Rose" deal with yearning and unrequited love, a carnival motif is carried (even in the absence of the title track) both by the nostalgic album artwork and by tunes such as the playful "Tilt-A-Whirl Girl," the oddly chorused "Circus Town" and the 'hidden' Vaudevillian coda (not to mention the fact that the band took their name on the advice of a gypsy fortune teller). It might be concluded from such songs as "Me" and "Circus Town" that lack of verse-chorus is its own theme in Push Stars music. Though both parts are most often well-written and well-orchestrated, and together make for insightful contrast, the hook has a tendency to fall off the line and sink. Despite the few which get away, however, "Fair" is a solid debut which is full of honest, emotive and bouncily fun pieces worthy of the fanfare and fanatical following the quickly-rising Stars have developed in just a few years.

- Matthew S. Robinson
© 1997 M. S. Robinson, ARR


The Push Stars - Tonight
7 Track EP
Recorded at Fort Apache Studios, Cambridge, MA and Chris Trapper and Ryan MacMillan’s attic, Brighton, MA
Mixed and Engineered by Dan McLoughlin
Produced by The Push Stars

Cranking into the E-Street rocker "Cross Town Cafe," The Push Stars (with special guest Star Emily Weber on sax) kick-off their anxiously awaited second album. It was so anxiously awaited, in fact, that the band opted for a seven song EP as opposed to a full-length follow-up to their Imago debut "Meet Me At the Fair" (see other review). Though only half as long as the Star's debut, the album delivers the same mix of intelligent writing, full, well-balanced orchestration and fun. From the calm and loving ballad "Ocean View" to the coherent play of "Meet Me at the Fair" and the percussive grooves of "Counting the Minutes," this EP packs it all in. It's no wonder the band is such a favorite or why their fans were so hungry for a second release. Even at the CD release party (see last issue), many fans already knew the new songs enough to mouth along with front man and writer Chris Trapper. Combining Trapper's varied six-string styles and mostly tuneful vocals with the solid and steady rhythm section of drummer Ryan MacMillan and bassist/keyboardist/engineer Dan McLoughlin, the Stars appear to be on the rise.

- Matthew S. Robinson
© 1997 M. S. Robinson, ARR


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