Starla Starshine – Red Lagoon (EP)
Up and coming L.A. singer Starla Starshine introduces audiences around the world to a unique brand of indie pop in her debut EP Red Lagoon, and while it recalls some of electronica’s most decadently indulgent songwriters of yesteryear it also makes a nice mark for Starshine herself by showcasing her stylish vocal attack. Good albums (and EPs for that matter) are all about execution from start to finish, and in the case of Red Lagoon, Starshine is on her game consistently and fervently, unabashedly displaying that she can rock a swaggering beat just as easily as she can get contemplative and self-aware inside of the same record. I had the chance to preview this extended play ahead of its release and was generally impressed with the compelling material that it boasted in its three tracks.
Red Lagoon has a heavy trance bend to it, but it isn’t so cerebral that it becomes shapeless or avant-garde. There’s been a ton of minimalism in pop music lately, but Starla Starshine doesn’t appear to be following the trend with this record. There might be a minute subtlety to the title track and “Bad Boys,” but overwhelmingly I get the feeling that these songs were meant to be played at full volume, soundtracking the steamy floor of a nightclub or a relaxed evening between two lovers looking to consummate their relationship. The postmodern influence begins and ends with the trance elements and never spills over into Starshine’s actual play.
Starshine’s California roots are front and center in Red Lagoon, and by that I mean we can detect a freewheeling lack of inhibition in all three of the songs we’re beholden to hear. Some pop singers like to play it coy and embrace the enigmas that their metaphorical lyrics can sometimes create, but she strikes me as a more up front kind of an artist. There’s not a lot of mystery between the audience and the singer in “Lover Man,” where plaintive balladry is given a decidedly industrial spin, and it actually makes the song a lot more fluid than it would have been otherwise. Starshine might be a fresh face in pop, but she appears to be knowledgeable about creating a mood in her music without coming off as campy or self-righteous.
Her songwriting needs to be polished up a little bit before I would deem her to be MTV-ready, but as far as debut EPs go Starla Starshine delivers an exceptionally well rounded release in Red Lagoon. There’s a danceable tone to her music that could possibly be expanded upon, but I also think there’s plenty to be said about the depth of her songwriting and ability to write somewhat reflective lyrics as well. Pop music isn’t always considered the most intellectual of genres in the world, but every now and again there’s an artist who helps to restyle pop and make it a little more stimulating and provocative than it usually is. Starla Starshine has an opportunity to prove she can do just that, and Red Lagoon is a great way for her to start.