Album #75: Ringo Deathstarr – Ringo Deathstarr

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Austin, Texas, USA
  • Label: Self-released
  • Best Track: I Don’t Want to Lose This

I always think when one of Ringo Deathstarr first suggested the name, they probably laughed and said “yeah, we’ll go with that!” By the third or fourth time, they had probably stopped laughing, and now they must just go “oh God, why did we call ourselves that?”

It’s an awful name, but they’re a decent enough band, if not the most original. Their sound is heavily influenced by My Bloody Valentine, particularly their more dance-oriented tracks like ‘Soon’.

It’s for that reason that I’ve always found it hard to see them as much more than shoegaze also-rans, and this self-titled fifth album (their first in five years) does little to change that. It’s perfectly OK, and all the pieces are there, but somehow they don’t always seem to fit together.

For a start, the drums seem a bit loud in the mix. They’re more in keeping with industrial music, clashing with the more ethereal, dreamy guitars and vocals. I’m all for experimentation, but the end result is that some songs sound rather untidy. And while nobody tunes into this genre of music expecting to be blown away by the vocals, they seem particularly flat and monotonous on this record.

There are high points though. Alex Gehring shows on ‘Disease’ that she can sing, and Elliott Frazier does a little more with his voice on ‘I Don’t Want to Lose This’, making it probably the pick of the album’s tracks.

I like the faster pace of ‘Just Like You’ and the dance influence on ‘The Same Again’. ‘Cotton Candy Clouds’ could be a really nice closure if it were kept a little simpler, but again they overwork it, and it becomes quite messy.

I love this sort of music, and if Ringo Deathstarr were the only band doing it I’m sure I would think they were great. As it is though, I don’t really hear them doing anything different or better than other similar bands on this album, despite some good ideas.

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